ECO Executive Director , Gareth Davies, is Vice Chair of the Action which is looking at how we can improve equality of access to cleft care for everyone in Europe. The Action began in 2018 and you can view activities on the website www.ecce.nu.
Conferences have been key to the Action’s activities with 3 major conference events scheduled during the life of the Action. The conferences bring together a rich and diverse network of researchers and stakeholders: user groups (beneficiaries); clinicians; health service providers (hospitals and health system coordinators); experts in public health medicine; representatives from health ministries; health economists; NGO’s; political lobbyists and activists. These events enable knowledge sharing at a high level which is is key to the Action’s outputs and integral to promoting and facilitating dissemination. They help cement research relationships between the COST participating countries leading to new connections and relationships, which will enhance future research funding opportunities, sustaining the long-term effectiveness of treatment for all patients with orofacial clefts and other craniofacial conditions.
The first Action conference was held in a Target Inclusiveness Country – in the city of Niš in Serbia. The event attracted 200 participants from 28 countries with a diverse range of speakers covering all aspects of the Action theme, including healthcare access issues for those denied settled status (refugees and immigrants). A another keynote speaker from Thailand spoke passioantel about ensuring every cleft patetint should be able to ful their potential and how his team a at the Tawanchai Center provides support well beyond medical care to ensure patints reach theri full educational and employment potentials.
The Action’s mid-term conference was held in Kristianstad, Sweden with around 70 attendees from throughout Europe. High powered speakers included the hosts of the 2021 and 2025 World Cleft Congresses (Sctoland and Japan) who presented global perspectives on cleft care. There was also an oppruntiity to hear frpm a pubnlic health specialist from Poland who spoke about how pateint centred care can be effectively delivered by health systems (a major theme within the Action). The imortance of ths theme was alos brought up by another speaker who spoke about factors that can bring about enhanced patient resilience.
A final Action summit is scheduled to take place in anther Target Inclusiveness Country – in Bucharest, Romania towards the end of the Action. The conference will focus on the Action’s outputs and recommendations and, importantly, promote the sustainability of the network (s) beyond the life of the Action.