Heart failure destroys and damages life – coordinated efforts are needed to make the disease a health priority in every country. This was the take-home message of a special meeting convened at the Heart Failure Association (HFA) summit in Rome on 25 October 2014 as part of the Global Heart Failure Awareness Programme. Ambassadors from heart failure societies and working groups in 12 European nations rallied around core messages from the recent White Paper, Heart failure: preventing disease and death worldwide, to prioritize follow-up actions in their home countries. “We are building a much bigger common approach all over the world,” explained Professor Petar Seferovic of the HFA as he opened the meeting, which had been organized by Oxford Health Policy Forum (OHPF). “We aim to deliver the core messages to heart failure experts ... media representatives and policy makers.”
“Ten core messages demand action – and five areas need policy change,” emphasized Graham Shelton of OHPF, as he summarized the findings of the White Paper. “We need to seize publicity opportunities throughout 2015 and beyond, and target local, regional and national stakeholders.” To make the most of such opportunities, a practical guide to working with journalists was provided by Lloyd Bracey of ArcMedia International in a highly interactive session. “One should aim not at being possible to understand, but at being impossible to misunderstand,” he summarized, citing Quintilian.
The next topic, effective local policy intervention in Europe, stimulated enthusiastic discussions on engaging with the European Commission and national policy makers, which were ably facilitated by Caroline Vrancken and Claudia Louati of Burson-Marsteller. During the final session of the meeting, Heather Lang of OHPF urged ambassadors to “get these life-giving messages out to the people who need to hear them,” as they identified country-level priorities and actions for the coming months and years. These local activities will be supported by a toolbox of resources customized for each country, explained Ruth Bentley of OHPF, rounding off the day. “We truly hope that together we can make a difference to heart failure across the globe.”
The Global Heart Failure Awareness Programme is supported by educational grants from Novartis Pharma AG and SERVIER.