Photo credit: DOI - Pierre Sammut
A National Round Table Consultation on the future strategic agenda for Public Health and Health Services Research in Malta and the EU was organized as part of the To-Reach project (funded by the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Union).
The meeting was held on Thursday 14 December at University of Malta Valletta Campus and attracted over 45 participants. The consultation was addressed by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health, Hon Chris Fearne, the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy, and Innovation, Hon Silvio Schembri, and the Director of the Research Services Support, Dr Axel Steuwer. Dr Natasha Azzopardi-Muscat, Senior Lecturer within the Health Services Management Department chaired the Round Table which was jointly organized by the Health Services Management Department at the University of Malta and the Directorate for Health Information and Research within the Ministry for Health.
Dr Kenneth Grech, President of Malta Association of Public Health Medicine, presented an overview of the project To-reach. Dr Neville Calleja, Director Department Health Information & Research, presented the current health systems research policies in a number of strategic policy documents issued by Government in recent years and Prof Sandra Buttigieg, Associate Professor and Head Department of Health Services Management, Faculty of Health Sciences, presented an overview of current health systems research initiatives in the University of Malta, among the different Faculties, Departments and Institutes.
Presentations were followed by discussion groups where in which participants from different sectors (namely, Academia, Public Sector, Private Sector, and NGO`s) addressed the following issues: i) Which are the most important priorities for health systems research within our country? Why? Which challenges will they help to address?; ii) What are the research priorities/projects for which we see added value in organising health systems research at European level? Why?; and iii)Which are the key criteria that need to be satisfied to ensure effective and appropriate transfer of innovation between health systems in different countries?
Health systems are currently facing several challenges arising from rapid changes in the socio-economic environment within which they operate as well as the ever increasing pace of change and technological innovation, including digitalisation of society. There is a need to develop evidence for health system strengthening and transformation that anticipates and meets the new needs being generated through the rapid scale of demographic, environmental and technological change. Well-organised health systems research can play a vital role in promoting the development, transfer and uptake of innovative solutions to sustain equitable and effective health systems into the future.
This event was organized within the To-reach project, financed by the EU Horizon 2020 programme. The project multidisciplinary consortium includes 28 partners from 20 countries including EU Member States, Norway, Canada, Israel and the US, and it covers research founders, policymakers and the research community.
Details of To-reach initiative are in the website of the project: https://to-reach.eu/