Some attendees of the NGO Summit in Brussels
On Wednesday 4th November 2015 three representatives from CoMO travelled to the beautiful city of Brussels, to attend the ‘Adult Immunisation Advocacy Summit’, organised by the International Federation on Ageing (IFA), in collaboration with CoMO and Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey. The two day Summit started an important dialogue necessary to help improve the uptake of adult vaccination in Europe. CoMO was represented by Vice-President Dr Daphne Holt, Europe-Africa Regional Coordinator, Ms Elena Moya and CoMO Intern, Ms Natalie Heritage.
Delegates at the Summit included international NGOs, health professionals, those with political expertise and observers from the pharmaceutical industry. There was a general consensus that if partners truly want to be able to move forward, then it is imperative that intelligence be gathered across different sectors. Overall, all attendees left the Summit with clearer ideas for overcoming obstacles to adult immunisation and thus, effectively help to improve the uptake of adult vaccinations.
There was fruitful debate during the Summit. Presentations were heard from the Secretary General of the IFA, Dr Jane Barratt, CoMO Vice-President, Dr Daphne Holt, and Dr Mine Durusu-Tanriover from Hacettepe University, as well as from representatives from other EU countries, such as Austria, Italy and Ireland. These presentations were accompanied by lively discussions and were an ideal means of stimulating debate.
During the discussions there was strong support for the concept that EU Member States must work together and share best practises in healthy ageing and vaccination, because the European Parliament is limited when it comes to vaccination. There was also lengthy discussion on how communication is key; we need to be able to communicate with all sectors of society, if we want to enact real and positive change. Attendees also noted how data collection systems for Vaccine Preventable Diseases in Europe are variable and need to be improved, along with the health literacy of society as a whole. After these discussions, action points were noted and agreed upon, to help ensure that maximum progress can be achieved.
In conclusion, it was certainly a productive couple of days and CoMO felt honoured to be surrounded by such an enthusiastic, focused and dedicated team of individuals. Creative and varied discussions flowed, and we were delighted to be able to contribute to the debate. We were also grateful to be able to forge strong alliances in the pursuit of our Life-Course Immunisation Initiative.
In preparation for the next stage, attendees laid down a firm set of actions, both at an individual and team level. CoMO is very much looking forward to continuing to develop our relationship with the IFA and we are very excited about the future of this coalition. Make sure that you stay connected with us on social media and through our blog, to find out what’s next on the cards for this partnership. The future looks bright - and busy!
Natalie is a recent graduate from the University of Birmingham, where she studied International Relations with French. She has particular expertise in the international political economy and its relation with international healthcare organisations. She is an intern at CoMO, where she is currently working on the Life-Course Immunisation Initiative.