Press Release

EU HIGH LEVEL EXPERTS MEETING

9-10 MAY 2014,

PENTELIKON HOTEL, KIFISSIA

The National Health Operations Center (EKEPY) of the Hellenic Ministry of Health had the honor and pleasure to organize for the first time not only in Greece but also in Europe under the auspices of the Greek Presidency of the European Union and the Ministry of Health an EU High Level Experts Meeting entitled: “Health Emergency Management in the EU – The role of National Health Operations Centers” on 9 & 10 May 2014 at «Pentelikon Hotel», in Kifissia .

Under the light of the recent developments in the legislative sector at the European level where the European Commission has currently launched the implementation of 1082/2013 EU Decision on cross – border threats to health (put in force since 6-11-2013 ) marking the establishment of the health Security Committee, all member- states are bound to reorient their followed practices onto a more interactive approach promoting the interoperability between the competent agencies at both National and International level.In this respective our country launching aninnovative initiative organized this meeting demonstrating in practice that the protection of public health is – as it should be- a national priority. In this context we considered this meeting as an opportunity to discuss issues relating to health security mainly in the axis of exchanging experiences and best followed practices at National and European level enhancing further the collaboration between member -states in this field.

During the lectures and roundtables developed both days of the meeting the participants (over 200 health professionals, managers, senior and executive officers from the health sector, the civil protection, the police force, the fire department, the Ministry of Defense and a variety of other agencies), had the opportunity to attend to a series of fruitful discussions on matters that currently concern Europe as a whole, as a community of people.

The scientific program involved a significant number of specialists and senior officers of Health Operations Centers of EU member – states such as Sweden , Belgium , Portugal , Slovenia , Bulgaria, Cyprus , Lithuania , Poland and Latvia as well as excellent representatives of the national academic field, but also experts on health crisis management derived from international organizations like the World health Organization ( WHO) , the International Organization for Migration ( IOM ) and European institutions like the European Commission (DG SANCO / C3).

The main topics which were developed can be described as follows:

a) National Health Operations Centers: Interoperability in the European Union highlighting the need for better and more effective coordination between agencies

b) Emergencies, Mass Casualties. Interoperability of the Health Sector in the European Union where the notion of interconnection and networking of Emergency Operations Centers emerged as a key concept for designing future actions and developing potential partnerships in managing health crises among EU countries

c) Health Stock Piles and the procedure of the Joint Procurement Agreement of medical countermeasures

d) Acute Public Health Events. Operational Planning – Management in a Time of Crisis where the challenges and the lessons learned in the recent past while handling health emergencies (Avian Influenza [H5N1], H1N1 virus, mers-co threat, issues relating to poliomyelitis etc) at a European level were discussed

e) Health Management of Immigrants -Cross-border Health Threats where among other issues the action plan of the National Health Operations Center of the Ministry of Health on Health Coverage of Detention Centers and Preliminary Reception Centers of Illegal Immigrants in Greece was presented

The works of the meeting, the conclusions and the recommendations on actions and partnerships that have been proposed, will be reflected on an official Report which will be composed and released within a reasonable time.

Panos Efstathiou, M.D., Ph.D
Orthopaedic Surgeon,
Vice President of the Hellenic Association of
Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology
Commander, National Health Operations Center,
HellenicMinistryofHealth
President of the Organizing Committee