A major one-day conference on 24 November will stimulate debate and reflect on action taken to reduce health inequalities. ‘Meeting the challenge: economics and a healthier society’ will focus on economic development and partnership working, with delegates attending from a number of community and voluntary organisations, government departments, local councils, academic and economic institutions.
This joint conference, at Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey, has been organised by the Public Health Agency (PHA) and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS). It will explore the links between financial investment, economic development, sustainable communities and health inequalities. It will also close the PHA’s five week ‘Focus on health inequalities’ joint programme of events.
Local experts and colleagues from Manchester will share their experiences of partnership working and innovation to improve health and social wellbeing, build resources within society and reduce the health inequalities between the richest and poorest in our society.
Explaining the significance of the ‘Focus on health inequalities’ programme and this conference, Dr Eddie Rooney Chief Executive, PHA, said: “The Public Health Agency was set up to promote and enhance the factors that influence good health and wellbeing and to reduce the avoidable and unjust differences in health experienced between the best and the worst-off in our society. We do this by working in partnership with the community and a wide range of organisations. It is important that our partners, and those working to tackle health inequalities, had the opportunity to highlight and share their good work across Northern Ireland in the last five weeks. In drawing this programme of activity to a close, we need to continue with the challenge, making the best use of available resources and keeping people well. By supporting the most vulnerable in our society, we not only improve their health and wellbeing now, but also help to alleviate the financial burden on future generations.”
Describing his Department’s commitment to this work, Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said: "We all know there are hard economic times ahead and with that comes a very real risk of health inequalities widening. Inequalities in health arise out of social inequalities - poverty, disadvantage, deprivation, unemployment, lack of attainment and so on. It is unfair that people living in different social circumstances experience avoidable differences in health and wellbeing.
"Effective partnership working at all levels is vital, as everyone has a part to play in helping to improve the conditions which are conducive to good health and wellbeing- it becomes even more important in times of economic hardship that we all play that part well."
This conference marks the end of ‘Focus on health inequalities’ a five week programme of activity to show the work of the PHA and partners in the statutory, voluntary, community and academic sectors to address the causes and effects of health inequality, across Northern Ireland.
Contact the PHA Press Office, Ormeau Avenue, on 028 9031 1611.
Event: ‘Meeting the challenge: economics and a healthier society’ conference
Date/time: 24 November 2010, 12:30 - 1:30 pm
Venue : Mossley Mill, Carnmoney Road North, Newtownabbey BT36 5QA
Attendees: Dr Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive, PHA; Ms Mary McMahon, Chair, PHA and programme speakers.
Notes to the editor
• This conference marks the end of ‘Focus on health inequalities’ a five week programme of events to demonstrate action being taken by the Public Health Agency and partners in the statutory, voluntary, community and academic sectors to address health inequalities and the wider determinants of health and wellbeing across Northern Ireland.
o During the five week programme over 70 events took place throughout Northern Ireland
• Hosted by the Public Health Agency in partnership with the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, this conference will bring together leading local and regional speakers to discuss the links between financial investment, economic development, sustainable communities and health inequalities.
• Conference objectives:
o To raise awareness of the relationships between the economy, financial investment, economic development and health inequalities.
o To examine the strategic drivers and influences that impact on health inequalities.
o To examine the implications for tackling inequalities through partnership, in the context of issues such as community planning models, local government joint working and the Programme for Government.
o To share regional and local perspectives on sustainability and our communities.
o To encourage participants to form alliances for improving equity in health.
o To disseminate knowledge and best practice on local interventions.
• Health inequalities are defined as ‘avoidable and unjust differences in health status by certain population groups’. (Institute of Public Health, 2010.)