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Meetings Calendar 2006
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Informal Meeting of Health Ministers in Vienna on 25-26 April 2006

 

Main themes: Diabetes and women’s health

The world has a population of around 6.5 billion people, 457 million of whom live in the EU, 300 million in the USA and 1.3 billion in China. Austria’s initiatives relating to diabetes and women’s health are therefore not limited to the EU. At the Informal Meeting of Health Ministers Maria Rauch-Kallat, Austria’s Federal Minister for Health and Women, will also be looking for common ground with China and the USA. The EU health ministers will be joined in Vienna by the US Health Secretary Michael Leavitt and his Chinese counterpart Gao Qiang. The ministers participating in the two-day conference therefore represent over 2 billion people – one third of the entire world population.

Type 2 diabetes – an internationally underestimated disorder

With around 170 million sufferers world-wide, including 22.5 million in Europe alone, type 2 diabetes is one of the greatest medical and health problems of our time. By 2025, i.e. within the next 20 years, some 60 million EU citizens may suffer from diabetes. WHO estimates and the results of the first Austrian diabetes report illustrate the need for action to combat the disease. The complications (cardiovascular disease, kidney damage and blindness as well as amputations) are irreversible and lead to a drastic reduction in quality of life. Prevention holds the key to containment of diabetes: we need to emphasise and promote a healthy lifestyle throughout the EU and create a living environment that enables people to make healthy choices. Early detection of undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, timely professional treatment and individual precautions to reduce and avoid complications are also crucial. The preparation of national diabetes plans that contain programmes on prevention and early detection and set clear objectives is an important step towards this goal.

Women’s hearts are different

Austria’s initiative on women’s health is making a significant contribution to the achievement of gender-based medicine.

In future greater account is to be taken of the different needs of women and men in diagnostics and medical care as well as in prevention and the development of drugs. The first European Commission report on women’s health was published in 1997. A great deal has changed since then, both in the medical sector (gender-based medicine) and in the way in which women live and work. The Informal Meeting of Health Ministers will prioritise the following four conditions: cardiovascular diseases in women, gender-specific consequences of smoking/lung cancer, osteoporosis and endometriosis. The Austrian Presidency’s objective is to initiate a European women’s health report documenting the status in all 25 EU Member States in this area.

 

Date: 25.04.2006