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Monthly Newsletter edited by Cittadinanzattiva-Active Citizenship Network
Year 11th, number 115 - June 2023

Many countries in the European region struggle with severe shortages of health personnel and an ageing and exhausted health workforce. This is leading to a lack of access to healthcare for many European citizens. Several countries, such as Italy, Romania, Serbia and Moldova, also face the challenge of so-called 'medical deserts'. These are areas with limited health services, resulting in unmet health needs of the population. They can exacerbate health inequalities, mostly affecting vulnerable groups.

Medical deserts and the lack of access to care for European citizens are therefore an increasingly urgent common public health problem in Europe. This Europe-wide problem requires Europe-wide collaboration in order to find a sustainable solution that guarantees European citizens optimal access to qualified and motivated healthcare professionals. Europe cannot wait: it is time to act!
Watch the video interviews made by journalist Mariam Zaidi on the occasion of the recent event at the European Parliament focusing on medical desertification.



Call to Action: Let's go AHEAD and tackle medical deserts!
On 27th April 2023, Cittadinanzattiva APS - through its EU branch Active Citizenship Network – organized, as a consortium partner of the AHEAD project, a conference at the European Parliament in Brussels titledAddressing medical desertification in Europe: a call to action”.

The ultimate aim of the event was to present to the European Institutions recommendations and proposals, based on the analysis and research conducted in the project countries and co-developed with the national institutions, to address the phenomenon of medical desertification and to affirm and emphasise the commitment of the European institutions on an issue that is present in many countries.

The conference, kindly hosted by MEP Beatrice Covassi (S&D Group), was organized with the support of the MEPs Interest Group "European Patients' Rights & Cross-Border Healthcare".

Read more

Speakers’ list

Beatrice Covassi
Beatrice Covassi is a Member of the European Parliament. She sits as a full member in the Committee for Industry, Research and Energy and as a substitute member in the Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food safety. She is a Member of the EU-UK Parliamentary Partnership Assembly, of the EU-China Delegation and of the delegation for relations with the Pan-African Parliament. She co-chairs the “Sustainable, long-term investments and competitive European industry” Parliamentary Intergroup. She joined the EP in December 2022 from London where she was working as Minister Counsellor at the newly established EU Delegation to the UK. Between 2016 and 2019 Beatrice worked as Head of the European Commission Representation to Italy.

Marina Royo de Blas
Marina Royo de Blas is currently working in DG AGRI, in the implementation of the Long-Term Vision for EU’s Rural Areas, more specifically in the topic related to social policy and evidence and data. She has had a trajectory working with regions in Brussels and with rural development programmes after specialising in European studies with a MA in “European Political and Governance Studies” from the College of Europe. Marina has a background in the history of international relationships with a Master's from the University of Montpellier and a bachelor's degree in Geography and History, from the university of her natal region, La Rioja, Spain.

Corinne Hinlopen
Corinne Hinlopen is a sociologist by background who later specialized as Master of Public Health. After working in public health in different capacities abroad as well as in The Netherlands, she joined Wemos in 2014. Corinne is currently leading two European projects: the AHEAD project on medical deserts, and the Pillars of Health project on the uneven availability of health and care workers across the European region, including health worker mobility and migration in the context of a free European internal labour market.

Anna Lisa Mandorino
Anna Lisa Mandorino is, since 2021, the Secretary General of Cittadinanzattiva. With a master’s degree in Literature, she specialised in European Public Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility. At Cittadinanzattiva she was first in charge of Communication, then of General Management through the coordination of activities and projects for the promotion of civic activism and participation. She works with particular attention to public policies on health, services, education and training, human and civil rights, in order to affirm new forms of civic action and governance of public processes, especially related to the empowerment of local communities, stakeholder involvement and institutional dialogue. In addition to other roles, in 2022 she was also appointed as member of the National Ethics Committee for clinical trials related to ATMPs at AIFA (Italian Medicines Agency).

Paolo Michelutti
Paolo Michelutti is a consultant and project manager for several Italian public health bodies (Age.Na.S., Ministry of Health, local health authorities and public hospitals) on HR management, performance appraisal, health workforce planning, organisation of health services. He has been part of health workforce projects and initiatives at European level for several years, currently leader of the EU Joint Action on Health Workforce for Health Challenges (HEROES).

Katarzyna Ptak-Bufkens
Katarzyna Ptak Bufkens is the policy officer in the Unit in charge of Performance of National Health Systems in the Directorate General for Health and Food Safety. She works on access to healthcare, healthcare workforce and contributes to the Unit’s work on the European Semester and knowledge building on health systems for Luxembourg and Spain.

Aysel Rahimli
Aysel is the project coordinator at Wemos. Before joining Wemos, Aysel worked in the health workforce development department of the regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the Eastern Mediterranean, with the scope of 22 countries. Prior to that, Aysel worked in the governmental and private sectors, including for the National Health Service in the UK. She has a degree in Biomedical Sciences from Essex University and a Public Health Masters from Imperial College London. She also obtained a certificate on human resources for health from the KIT Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam. Aysel works with the Corinne on the European projects at Wemos.

Dorota Tomalak
Dorota Tomalak is the Deputy Head of Unit at the European Committee of the Regions (CoR). She holds master degrees from the Institute for Political Studies in Strasbourg and the University of Wroclaw as well as the diploma of the College of Europe in Bruges. Her responsibility is to lead on the Committee’s work on public health policy matters, advise local and regional politicians, analyse policy trends and developments and build bridges between local expertise and European policy-making. Before joining the CoR in 2012, she worked for an UK based association of public sector directors and in the EU-funded research project of University of Konstanz.  Dorota Tomalak is active in many EU platforms and expert groups and is the lead contact for the CoR-UNWHO relations.

John Wynn-Jones
Dr John Wynn-Jones has been a rural GP in Wales for over 30 years. He has now retired from his clinical practice but maintains his academic roles. He founded the UK Institute of Rural Health and the Welsh Rural Postgraduate Unit in 1997 and was instrumental in creating the European Rural and Isolated Practitioner’s Association (EURIPA) and remained its president until 2012. John was one of the founding members of the Wonca Working Party on Rural Practice. He is currently the Senior Lecturer in Rural and Global Health at Keele Medical School, board member of the English Centre for Rural Health and Care and Visiting Professor International Institute for Rural Health and Lincoln University. He is also a board member of the English National Centre for Rural Health and Care.

Mariam Zaidi
Mariam Zaidi is an international news presenter, reporter and expert on the EU. Also specialising in politics and foreign affairs she has more recently steered coverage on the Ukraine war and the energy crisis for Euronews. As a seasoned moderator and master of ceremonies for Euractiv, EU institutions and global corporate clients she is a master of many trades. A law grad with an MA in Journalism she has worked for the BBC, ITV, CGTN, APTN and CNBC.

Tomas Zapata
Dr Tomas Zapata leads the Health Workforce and Service Delivery Unit in the WHO Regional Office for Europe based in Copenhagen. He has with more than 13 years of experience in policy advice, research and programme implementation, in more than 20 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. Dr Tomas Zapata is a medical doctor specialized in Family Medicine in Spain. He holds a Master’s degree in Health Policy, Planning and Financing from LSHTM and LSE and a specialised short course on Human Resources for Health by Harvard School of Public Health.

Click here to read the Conference’s programme
Click here to download the speakers’ biographies
Click here to see the video-recording of the conference
Click here to read the press release
here to watch the photo gallery on Active Citizenship Network FB page.
here to read the concept note of the event
To know more about the EU Project AHEAD, click here (
EN – IT)
To know more about the Italian “Strategy for Inner Areas” click here.

Press review
APPLIED SCIENCES RESEARCH PERIODICALS (June 2023, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 01-17): Health needs in Italy, between medical desertification and the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Province where you go, shortage of health personnel that you find
 (10 May, 2023): Con il territorio e la pianificazione si combattono i deserti sanitari (IT)
HEALTH EUROPA (25 Apr. 2023): A call to action: Addressing inequalities between European healthcare systems
Breaking Latest News (Jan. 23, 2023): Shortage of nurses. “But does anyone know that there is a school in Bozzolo?”
STOL (19 Jan. 2023): Ärztemangel: Südtirol besonders stark betroffen (DE)
ITALY24PRESS(19 Jan. 2023): Ärztemangel und „Gesundheitswüsten“ Neun Regionen am stärksten betroffen (DE)
ANSA (19 Jan. 2023): Pénurie de médecins, Trentino Alto Adige parmi les zones les plus touchées – Trentino AA/S (FR)
NEWSRND.COM (19 Jan. 2023): Shortage of doctors and 'health deserts', 9 most affected regions
NEWS.ITALY-24.COM (19 Jan. 2023): Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto among the 9 regions most in crisis
THE NEWS DEPT (19 Jan. 2023): Shortage of doctors and “health desert”: nine regions with the smallest workforce
BREAKING LATEST NEWS (19 Jan. 2023): Shortage of doctors and “health deserts” Nine regions most affected
BREAKING LATEST NEWS (19 Jan. 2023): Shortage of doctors and ‘health deserts’, 9 most affected regions – Healthcare

Click here for the press review in Italian language

Patients' Rights

BE A.W.A.R.E. Covid, Long Covid and frailty: let's keep our attention high!
The BE A.W.A.R.E. initiative, promoted in Italy by Cittadinanzattiva, aims to increase awareness in the general population of the risk of developing severe forms of COVID-19 in fragile people, with one or more pre-existing diseases, immunocompromised or with specific conditions.
The intention is to promote this awareness also outside the Italian borders, to make all citizens aware of the need to continue monitoring the evolution of COVID-19, without forgetting what we have learnt in recent years: to keep our attention high on the most fragile people, more exposed to infections and complications. For a large segment of the population, Covid-19 can still pose a threat, which is why it is essential not to let our guard down and also to pay attention to Long Covid, the condition of patients who, weeks after the disease and despite being negative, continue to report symptoms attributable to the infection. Read more (ENIT) and follow our social campaign!  #BEAWARE.

Get involved in personalized prevention!
Cittadinanzattiva-ACN, as a project partner, is pleased to announce the launch of the website of this important  European Project on Personalized Prevention PROPHET. Personalised Prevention can represent a major turning point for health systems, as it implies the integration of traditional public health approaches to prevention, which have a population perspective, with a new approach based on the individuals' characteristics.
Whether you are a citizen, a patient, a health professional, or any other person involved and interested in Personalized Prevention, come and participate in the co-creation activities of the PROPHET project: by registering here you you will be informed about all activities, such as the public consultation expected in September 2024. Also don’t forget to follow us on our new social media channels: Twitter (@EUHealthPROPHET) and LinkedIn

Are we able to recognise and report symptoms? Try the SymptomSurvey
What matters to you when your loved ones experience COVID or flu symptoms? It's simple: you want their symptoms to get proper medical attention. Be one of the first 1000 participants to fill out the  SymptomSurvey today.  Most people have experienced flu or COVID symptoms. When we communicate our symptoms to health professionals, the message does not always get through. Symptoms that concern us do not always receive the attention they deserve. The SymptomSurvey aims to educate doctors and nurses about what we care about when we experience these symptoms. Read more and share your expectations for a successful recovery. Read more

Advancing Vaccination Equity in Europe
The report “Advancing Vaccination Equity in Europe” on essential strategies to promote vaccination equity in Europe was published in April 2023. It explores the importance of targeting vulnerable populations living in poverty and social exclusion to reverse the decline in vaccination uptake across the continent. With case studies from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, this report highlights three key priorities for EU and national efforts: improving data collection by incorporating social determinants, improving access through community pharmacies and mobile clinics, and promoting trust through co-created community solutions. The Director of Cittadinanzattiva-Active Citizenship Network was involved in the activity by Business Fights Poverty. To download the document,
click here.

Consumers' Rights

Become a BioreCer Stakeholder: for more sustainable production!
We are pleased to invite you to join the stakeholder group (consumers, organic companies, certification bodies etc.) of the European project BioReCer (Biological Resources Certifications Schemes), of which Cittadinanzattiva is one of the partners. The primary objective of the project is to guarantee the environmental performance and traceability of organic raw materials used by bio-industries. This is a crucial issue for the transition we are experiencing towards more sustainable production and consumption models.  To find out more and get informed and involved, register here.

Civic Activism

NIGHTINGALE: How do you see the role of citizens in disaster management?
The NIGHTINGALE Project is developing and integrating new tools for the management of medical emergencies during major disasters, useful for emergency medical staff and non-medical civil protection agencies (firefighters, police and search & rescue personnel) but also for volunteers and citizens! The third round table in Lubjiana - held on 5 and 6 May 2023 - was a perfect opportunity for the end users of these tools to review progress and discuss recommendations for the technical partners, who are developing them, for the next phase of the project. One session was dedicated to the future planning of small-scale and full-scale exercises to test and validate the NIGHTINGALE tools and solutions for triage and emergency response during mass casualty incidents (MCIs).
After the panel discussion, Cittadinanzattiva-Active Citizenship Network presented, during the Disaster and Military Medicine section of the European Congress of Trauma and Emergency Surgery 2023 (ESTES), the citizens' role in disaster management with the presentation "How I see the role of citizens in mass casualty incidents". Remembering that ordinary citizens are not only affected by these accidents, but are the first to arrive at the scene of the disaster and, in most cases, to have to rebuild their lives there. Citizens are one of the life-saving stakeholders at the scene and, trained or not, they make decisions and share local knowledge and resources. Mass casualty preparedness and management must also mean the preparation and involvement of citizens. To know more, click here.


27-28 June 2023 | Dublin (Ireland):  Nightingale Project 3rd Plenary Meeting
ACN and all 22 other NIGHTINGALE partner organisations will come together for a two-day meeting, which will focus on the main project updates and recent developments of the technological solutions developed in the project to improve the operational capabilities of emergency medical services and civil protection agencies in case of mass casualty incidents. Partners will be able to review progress and formulate a clear strategy for the coming months. Read more about Nightingale here. 

28 June 2023 | Brussels (Belgium): Europe’s Tomorrow: Vaccination and Prevention Summit
Building on our research and health impact programmes, this year Think Young has decided to organise the first European Vaccination and Prevention Summit, which will be an opportunity for policy makers, health experts and civil society organisations to come together and discuss the challenges in the field of vaccination and prevention at European and Member State level. The summit - to be held in Brussels at the Museum of Natural Sciences on 28 June - will also aim to bring young people's voices on vaccines and prevention to the forefront by connecting young people's concerns and views with high-level stakeholders from the health industry and related policy areas.
The summit will consist of a series of panel discussions that will take place in different rooms. At the same time, there will be an exhibition area where we would like to see several stands of start-ups working on vaccination and prevention. There will also be a time for Q&A and school involvement. Active Citizenship Network has been invited to the panel to talk about its activities on vaccination.
To find out more about the initiative and to register, click here.

29 June 2023 | Brussels (Belgium): The Mission Board on Vaccination in Europe
Cittadinanzattiva/Active Citizenship Network has been invited to participate in the second multi-stakeholder meeting of the "Mission Board on Vaccination in Europe". The meeting will include updates and panel discussions related to each working group, as well as contributions from external speakers, including the European Commission, the European Parliament and the EU Council. To learn more about ACN's commitment to vaccination policy at the European level, click here.

30 June 2023 | Brussels (Belgium): HERA Civil Society Forum
Cittadinanzattiva/Active Citizenship Network has been invited to the next meeting of the HERA Civil Society Forum to be held on Friday 30 June 2023. The HERA Civil Society Forum is the expert group of the HERA Advisory Forum, led by the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA). The Civil Society Forum facilitates stakeholder interactions and serves as a contact point between HERA and stakeholders representing patients, consumers and health professionals. It provides views, comments and opinions of civil society stakeholders to the HERA Advisory Forum on health preparedness and response issues, with a focus on medical countermeasures. For a list of members of the Civil Society Forum, click here.

5-7 July 2023 | Athens (Greece): NUDGE project plenary meeting
From 5 to 7 July 2023 the partners composing the consortium of the “NUDging consumers towards enerGy Efficiency through behavioral science” (NUDGE) project – which consists of a multidisciplinary team of 10 partners with different backgrounds and expertise - will meet to analyse the progress made so far and discuss the realization of the activities that will take place during the last months of the project duration. Cittadinanzattiva - Active Citizenship Network will participate in this plenary meeting of the project in the capacity of the only Italian partner in the consortium. To find out more, click here.


Director and Editor in chief: Mariano Votta
Editors: Daniela Quaggia, Bianca Ferraiolo
Coordination and Production: Giacomo D'Orazio 

To contribute, plase write to: mail@activecitizenship.net
www.activecitizenship.net ; www.cittadinanzattiva.it

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Mail: brussels@activecitizenship.net