Health Promotion Conference Focuses on Health Marketing

The annual health promotion conference is held in Tallinn on Friday, June 4. This year's subject is health communication and health marketing.

The keynote presentations at the conference “Health Messages in the Era of Abundant Information” focus on health-related communication in the world as well as Estonia - developments to date, our progress and new opportunities for distributing health-related information. The second half of the day focuses on previous health campaigns in Estonia and Finland, and on the question whether the forwarded messages have reached the target groups and made people's choices healthier. One of the main speakers at the conference is Dr Gaya Gamhewage from the headquarters of the World Health Organisation (WHO), where she is responsible for public health communication. She began her career as a journalist but turned to medicine studies; she has worked in the field of public health already for some decades. She has a long-time professional experience from emergency situations related to public health; she belonged to the WHO task force addressing the reaction to the H1N1 pandemic. Dr Gaya Gamhewagel points out: “Technological development, globalization, improved education, global solidarity and the people's own understanding that they are the masters of their lives have influenced decisions related to people's health in the last twenty years. New technologies also mean that articles, opinions and messages published in the media are varying, not necessarily based on evidence and facts but sometimes confusing and contradictory. This dynamics was also visible in the media coverage of the H1N1 pandemic, financial crises and recent humanitarian disasters, including the Haiti earthquake this year.” In the middle of the conference day, three parallel discussion sessions are held which concentrate on the major current topics in health-related communication. The discussion covers ethical issues of addressing health-related subjects, as well as the availability and application of health-related topics in different cultural and language groups. We also examine how the media choose the health messages and what is their potential effect. The conference is organised by the National Institute of Health Development, Estonian Health Insurance Fund, Ministry of Social Affairs, Estonian representation of WHO and Estonian Society for Health Promotion. The conference starts at 10:00 in Solaris Cinema Centre (Estonia pst 9). At 15:00, the Estonian Society for Health Promotion awards Mrs. Evelin Ilves with the title of Health Friend of the Year.