Empowering communities: a way towards stronger health systems
27 October 2022
The series ‘Health Management in action: fostering health systems’ resilience’ included ten episodes that presented best practices, case studies, practical examples and implementable solutions to improve health systems preparedness and rapid response to health threats.
Episode 7 – Empowering communities: a way towards stronger health systems
Health literacy, health promotion, prevention, awareness raising and education all enable citizens to play a greater decision-making role, from the community level to the broader governmental and European scale. In health crises, countries rely both on their health system and the participation of communities to manage the challenges encountered. Further, meeting the health literacy needs of disadvantaged and marginalised societies can accelerate the progress to reduce inequalities in health. The session highlighted case studies and offered practical solutions to improve community engagement.
Ms Caroline Costongs
Ms Caroline Costongs
Caroline Costongs is Director of EuroHealthNet and expert in public health and health promotion. Caroline is active in various EU and WHO fora, as well as in Advisory Boards such as for APHEA (Public Health Education Accreditation Agency) and various EU projects and is a member of the ICC – International Council for the European Public Health Conference.
Caroline has a strong international background with 25+ years of public health, health equity and health promotion experience. In 1992 she started her career as a researcher at the National Capacity Building Institute (INICE) of the Honduras Ministry of Education. She subsequently worked for the Health Institute of the Liverpool John Moores University and the Netherlands Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation (NOC*NSF) linking health and physical activity. In 2000, she joined the European Network of Health Promoting Agencies (ENHPA), where she helped establish EuroHealthNet as a not-for-profit association with legal statutes in Belgium. Caroline graduated from the University of Maastricht with a MSc in Public Health.
This webinar is co-funded by the EU4Health Programme of the European Union under Grant Agreement no. 101082904. Views and opinions are of the speakers and authors only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or HADEA. Neither the European Union nor HADEA can be held responsible for them.
What our Members say
I have been active in EHMA since the first years of the '90s and I have seen its evolution from a small association of members interested in sharing knowledge on health management practices to the current status of reference and advisory key player for EU, health systems and organisations, stakeholders associations, industry and universities. EHMA is now a unique knowledge hub, policy advisor, community of practice and network of best in class organisations involved in health policy and management. A place where health managers can build their competences, policy-makers and stakeholder associations envision how to implement and sustain change through health management, industry leaders understand how to engage more effectively with health organisations and systems. The right place to nurture and grow health management capabilities and capacity for every stakeholder of health systems.
Prof. Federico Lega, University of Milan, Italy
Health management has a crucial function in shaping public health and health system challenges. The Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria had success in collaborating with EHMA on EU-funded projects that has resourced us to create new health management competencies for the future workforce. In addition to all classical definitions, health management is a science dealing with individuals, groups, and society at large. It is an art contributing to the beauty of our lives and an interactive communication process at all levels of institutions and human energy. I have also had the pleasure to chair the South Eastern European Special Interest Group which gives members a space to discuss and tools to address how health systems are managed in our regions.
Prof. Todorka Kostadinova, Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria
I enjoy the high level of interaction and engagement in EHMA’s activities, in particular during the annual conference where the panel discussions are rich and well prepared. As a hospital manager and professor of health management, EHMA motivates and inspires me to be creative. You go back home feeling energised from seeing old friends and making new connections, as well as being convinced of serving as EHMA’s ambassador. It’s a strong feeling of interdisciplinary engagement, but it also feels like being part of family-like community.
Prof. Sandra C. Buttigieg, University of Malta, Malta
EHMA is a pre-eminent organisation for everyone working in planning, managing and delivering health services across Europe. As a long standing member of EHMA I have always been impressed by the vibrant community of managers, researchers and academics it has created and by the many opportunities for sharing knowledge and funding opportunities it has brought to its members. Its international scope is impressive and its impact is often felt in management and research across European and national health systems.
Prof. Axel Kaehne, Edge Hill University, UK
Health workforce has become more essential in operating, managing and maintaining health systems lately, particularly in crisis and emergency situations. European healthcare professions and the workforce need to be high on the agenda of managers and decision makers. The Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University in Hungary is a longstanding EHMA member, because it connects us with collaborators and experts, with whom we can have complex debates, from whom we can learn and at the end find solutions in various challenging fields of healthcare management.
Dr Eszter Kovács, Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University, Hungary
As a hospital administrator and health management professor, I see on a daily basis that the healthcare challenges require talented and skilled managers to transform it. the EHMA membership has been beneficial to bring healthcare management research and education to the demanding healthcare services world, promoting healthcare management competencies and knowledge creation.
Dr Alexandre Lourenco, APAH - Association of Portuguese Hospital Managers, Portugal
Many healthcare systems in Europe and beyond are facing similar challenges which require innovative and creative solutions. EHMA’s annual conference, webinars, Programme Directors’ group and other activities and resources provide incredible opportunities for networking, connecting and sharing experiences. A distinct feature of EHMA is the diversity of members with representation from many countries, sectors and different communities of practice – academic, policy-makers, practitioners, managers, leaders and students. The annual conference is a highlight in the calendar year, offering a friendly, fun and learningful environment for emerging and established members to engage, collaborate and meet up with old and new friends. I am proud to be a member of the EHMA Board.
Prof. Ann Mahon, University of Manchester, UK
Society evolution, pandemics and ageing modify health needs. So, health policies and services are to change dramatically. EHMA, through webinars, workshops and annual conference provides an excellent insight to a professional changing world, favouring closeness to management innovation and the protagonists of these changes. As a primary care services’ manager, participating in EHMA activities is really worth it and allows to involve oneself in the innovation processes.
Dr Antoni Peris Grao, Consorci Castelldefels Agents de Salut (CASAP), Spain