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Conference on Health Literacy and Human Rights

The Steering Committee for Human Rights in the fields of Biomedicine and Health (CDBIO), in cooperation with the National Office Against Racial Discrimination of Italy, and with the support of the Ministry of Family, Natality and Equal Opportunities and of the Ministry of Health of Italy, organised the Conference on health literacy  and human rights - trust building and equitable access to healthcare.

The event took place in Rome, on 12 December 2023.

In the first session, Minister for Family, Natality and Equal Opportunities, Eugenia Rocella, underlined how important it is for healthcare systems and health providers to support patients in managing their health and well-being. Minister of Health, Orazio Schillaci, underlined how health literacy is a shared responsibility which helps to meet the growing demands for healthcare resulting from inter alia ageing populations and shifting demographics. Daniele Cangemi, Head of the Council of Europe Department for Human Rights, Justice and Legal Cooperation Standard-Setting Activities, stressed that certain people face more adverse health risks than others, asserting the importance of equitable access to healthcare. 

The Guide to health literacy is a practical tool to assist decision-makers, health providers and health professionals in addressing healthcare, disease prevention and health promotion. It helps to promote the inclusion of disadvantaged groups and to fight discrimination by focusing on patient’s needs, social listening and preventive services for people in vulnerable situations. 

In a series of panel discussions, the conference explored health literacy trends and challenges, as well as policy and practice regarding digital health literacy, patient journeys and, as an example, health literacy in the Roma community. 

The event was attended by approx. 70 participants with many others following online. 

The conference forms part of the Council of Europe’s important work to promote health literacy and the corresponding responsibilities of health systems, supporting the development of more accessible and inclusive health systems by suggesting ways to develop health literacy at individual, organisational, and political levels.

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Rome, Italy 12 december 2023
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