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ALCUE health and quality of life platform

Final Report Summary - ALCUEHEALTH (ALCUE Health and Quality of Life Platform)

The ALCUEHEALTH project was an initiative for collaboration between Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), and the European Union (EU), with the aim of undertaking a series of health-related and quality-of-life activities. Its objectives were to strengthen the capacity for cooperation and develop a critical mass of knowledge within this network in relation to priority public health issues, by means of investigation projects, training programs and workshops, with experts from different countries in LAC and from Europe, with a view of transforming the knowledge generated into public health policies and practices.

The project was developed with the major support of a management committee, composed with representatives of the Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Portugal and with representation from Cuba and Greece who were participants at the early stages of the project.

The main objective was to elaborate on the conclusions of the ALCUEHEALTH Dialogue carried out prior to the Brasilia Ministerial Meeting in order to translate its policy orientations into a set of concrete outcomes achievable through ALCUE's bi-regional Science and technology (S&T) cooperation. To this end the Specific Support Action (SSA) targeted the organisation of six workshops, the final one on capacity building being replaced with a management committee meeting aimed at discussions on the adjustment of ALCUEHEALTH into the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

The workshops were attended by academia, researchers and specialists in the areas, civil society members and non-governmental organisations, policy makers and open, sometimes to the public, mainly to university students.

One of the most important outcomes of the project was the production of a website (please see online) to be used mostly by LAC institutions, participants of the different workshops, with information in the area of ALCUEHEALTH. The website should:
- classify and disseminate information from specialized sources within the different workshop themes;
- promote international and inter-institutional cooperation, especially among members and users of the ALCUEHEALTH network, including information on other related sites;
- disseminate all documents as well as achievements from meetings and workshops;
- create a dissemination platform for the promotion of researcher's work;
- build an information service with brochures and on congress and meetings data.

The management committee concluded that although not all objectives and planned activities were implemented and that integration of all the different thematic workshops were still incomplete, it was managed:
a) to advance knowledge on key themes and others of present relevance such as social determinants and primary health care and emerging diseases;
b) to involve representatives of all interest related societies and LAC countries;
c) the existence of a functional website proved critical for integration and visibility;
d) in three workshops all representatives of different Research and technological development (RTD) actions were present which was very positive.

It was therefore recommended:
- to built upon previous ALCUEHEALTH experience to explore FP7 in order to continue work as determined from the workshops' conclusions, either submitting proposals in specific areas, or further developing an integrated network that should critically engage with but not only with EU and LAC based structures, namely the organizations such as the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and others;
- to request a three-month no-cost extension from the European Commission (EC) to organise a coordination meeting with the four Oficinas de Enlace and other relevant partners in Brazil, using the remaining EUR 25 000;
- to strongly encourage bi-regional mobility and training and exchange of ideas among the EU and LAC;
- to further develop the website with support from Mexico and other funding agencies, after the end of the present project and to move beyond the website towards a knowledge management network.

ALCUEHEALTH management committee should support all requests from individual attendants of previous workshops, and facilitate their submissions for funding, preferably though including proposals for the future calls at the FP7. Though the interchange from workshops into all LAC was slow and needed improvement and was not yet finalised this was encouraged through future endeavours and whenever possible in the future, it was strongly advised to support training and exchange of younger researchers, through the established links. It was recommended that the Netherlands should coordinate future activities within the scope of ALCUEHEALTH as a network with LAC and the EU.