Global, What is HP

Highlights from 2013 IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion

Highlights from the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) World Conference on Health Promotion

– “Best Investment for Health” IUHPE President Michael Sparks took time out of his busy schedule to present the highlights of the conference for HPF.  The 21st International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) World Conference on Health Promotion in Pattaya Thailand was noted for its truly global focus.   More than 2,000 delegates, from over 80 countries attended the event this August.   The theme – ‘Best Investment for Health” – provided many opportunities to discuss and debate this crucial question, as well as to share good practice, network and socialise. It was the first time the conference was held in a developing Asian nation.  This gave participants from the region an unprecedented opportunity to participate.  In turn, it afforded a greater understanding among all participants of the varying levels of investment in health promotion across countries and of the broad range of issues affecting the practice of health promotion across the different contexts.
Highlights of the 21st International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) World Conference on Health Promotion:
  • Presentations on work done in the South West Pacific region with Māori and indigenous Australian populations; including a well-received presentation from HPF’s Deputy Executive Director, Trevor Simpson.
  • South West Pacific regional office of the IUHPE now hosted in New Zealand, with HPF’s Executive Director Sione Tu’itahi now Vice-President of the this regional arm.
  • An emerging issue around tobacco in Thailand during the conference provided an opportunity for delegates to throw their support behind moves to strengthen tobacco control there.
  • New awards were created for ‘most liked poster’ and ‘health promotion practice.
  • Wrap-up of the conference.

New Zealand contribution

Of particular interest was the work done by the IUHPE’s Indigenous Health Promotion Network. Work done in the South West Pacific region with Māori and Indigenous Australian populations is often viewed as cutting edge and sessions were well attended by conference participants from other countries.  Presentations from the region included a well-received one by HPF’s Deputy Executive Director Trevor Simpson. Another development of particular interest to health promoters of Aotearoa New Zealand was the shifting of the leadership in the South West Pacific region of the IUHPE to this country.  The Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand Executive Director, Sione Tu’itahi, has been elected Vice-President of the South West Pacific Region of IUHPE, while Associate Professor Louise Signal, Director of the Health Promotion and Policy Research Unit (HePPRU) and Health, Wellbeing & Equity Impact Assessment Research Unit (HIA), Department of Public Health,  Otago University is its Regional  Director.  Until now these positions have been drawn from Australia for many year.

Delegates weighed in to support local battle to improve tobacco control in Thailand

During the conference there were also interesting developments in relation to local tobacco controls.   The tobacco Giant Philip Morris challenged in court the Thai Ministry of Public Health’s legislation to increase health warnings on cigarette packages to 85% of the outer surface.  The country’s lower court issued an injunction against the Public Health Ministry to suspend enforcement of the regulations. Informed of these developments, conference delegates took action: developing a letter of support to the minister and petitioning the IUHPE General Assembly to write to the minister.  Delegates also participated in a local media event to publicise the global support for tobacco control clearly evident at the conference. Following the conference The Ministry, encouraged by the support from the global health promotion community, has appealed against the injunction to the Supreme Court.  A ruling is expected late this year or early in 2014.

New awards created

Two new awards were created this year:  the “most liked” daily poster session and the “Health Promotion Practice” awards.  Recipients of the latter were three distinguished practitioners:
  • Dr. Gene R.Carter, the Executive Director and CEO of ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development)
  • Prof.Prakit Vathesatogkit, Executive Secretary, The Action on Smoking and Health Foundation
  • Dr. Don Eliseo Lucero-Prisno III, Lecturer, University of Liverpool
              Article by: Michael Sparks Editor: Jo Lawrence-King Published: November 2013