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« International conference: 8 and 9 February 2007
on the topic:
Health Promotion and Health Education:
knowledge and needs for research »

The Public Research Centre for Health, department (Centre of Health Studies) organizes a conference during the period of 8 and 9 February 2007, with the support of Ministry of Health and the University of Luxembourg.

International partnerships: CCHPR, Canadian Consortium for Health Promotion Research, IUHPE, International Union for Health Promotion and Education.

Why an international conference on this topic?

Like many northern countries, as well as in certain southern countries, the intervention in public health under the perspective of "Health Promotion and Education" from now on is largely known in Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg.

Since several years, the public health issues are considered as one of the great priorities. The Ministries of Health, elsewhere in the word, conduct many health information programmes and health awareness campaigns, in addition to population and healthcare professionals trainings.

On the other hand, research activities are generally not sufficiently developed and not yet considered as one of the public policies priorities. The link between conducted actions, and the evaluation of their consistency and outcome remains very little recognized. Therefore, adequate works of reflection and hence advanced researches in specific fields are not yet achieved.

In fact, the comprehension of this problematic articulates around the lack of knowledge in the following fields:

1. The "Health promotion and prevention approaches ", linked to the main pathologies (cancers, cardiovascular diseases...), focus mainly on medical or epidemiological trails, which are directly followed by screening and/or treatment,

2. Generally, in the field of health education, we do not know sufficiently the outcome of the health information actions and health awareness on the population. Only few scientific projects measure the health improvement following a local or national programme.

3. In the field of health Community, concerning young people, elderly people, and the problems of social inequities, the health education issues are rarely elucidated.

Filling up these gaps gradually is a scientific issue, that needs best comprehension of both the various types of pathologies and the particularity of the population. All the same, it is especially an operational task of public health. In the last years, the policies of health promotion and education have been strongly developed, in Luxembourg as well as in European and Northern-American neighbours.

However, public health issues are often confused with social issues. Public health policies are likely to be destabilized by the lack of precise data on the relationship between intervention, outcome, impact and evaluation. Generally, we don't have enough evaluated and validated tools for specific analysis or interventions with respect to the priorities. In addition, the legitimacy of the institutional intervention in health promotion and education still sometimes based on the medical, or compassionnal, and even moral dimensions. In the Contrary, the precise knowledge accelerates and stabilizes public health policies.

Certain countries, like Belgium and Quebec consider health prevention and education at the centre of their public health policies. These countries, in particular, have developed their expertise through several approaches:

1. Establishing the link between research and health prevention programmes,
2. Developing continuous evaluations of the campaigns and actions led by public health professionals,
3. Producing quality references,
4. Building multidisciplinary partnerships,
5. Promoting the trainings in health and therapeutic education and finally,
6. Taking part in European Tasks of Health Promotion Programmes.

Researchers from other countries, mainly from the South, try to develop research programmes, according to their own capacities of evaluation, development and adaptation to the local needs and resources.

This conference aims to tackle research obstacles in relation to "health promotion and education actions " conducted in various countries, and to analyse them according to SWOT approach (Strong, Weak, Opportunities and threats).

Cardiovascular diseases, cancer, mental and environment health will be the main topics to be discussed during this conference. At the same time, health promotion and education will be probably taken into account from different point of view, in regard to particular groups ("people with a handicap or chronic disease", "elderly people", "young people", "socially disadvantaged or excluded groups") and different contexts (hospital, school, town, professional environment).

Objectives and prospects

This conference aspires to place the first keystone in the field of health promotion and education research activities, and to enhance the production and dissemination of related knowledge. It has a double objective:

1. The short-term objective aims to present foreign studies and experiences, hoping that their conclusions might be useful for the Luxembourg context,

2. The medium term objective aims to help the organisers to identify the future research field's priorities. The appointed presentations are expected to show key-fields of work for researchers and public health professionals. They should encourage the decision makers to support a future research programme, by identifying more precisely the needs for knowledge in health promotion and education.