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EAUN’s voice in the European Men’s Health Forum

16-07-2013      776 views

The changing demographic picture across the EU highlights the increasing longevity of much of the male population. Based on current projections, there will be nearly 24 million fewer working age men (aged 15-64 years) than now by 2060 and an increase in the number of men over 65 by some 32 million. Poor lifestyles and preventable risk factors account for a high proportion of premature death and morbidity in men. There is a strong gendered dimension to lifestyle choices and risky behaviours that place men at higher risk of ill health.

According to a recent European commission report “The State of Men’s Health in Europe” (EU, 2011), across Europe men who live in poorer material and social conditions are likely to eat less healthy, take less exercise, be overweight/obese, consume more alcohol, be more likely to smoke, engage in substance misuse, and have more risky sexual behaviour; a ticking time bomb in the context of health care provision and a challenge in terms of how it can be effectively addressed.

However, it is arguably the infrequent use of and late presentation to health services that lead to higher levels of potentially preventable health problems among men and fewer treatment options. The overall rate of admission to hospital is higher for men than for women for all of the principal diseases and health problems. Men’s poorer knowledge and awareness of health also points towards the need for targeted health information to be delivered to men.

It in this context, that the EAUN ‘s initial engagement with the European Men’s Health Forum (EMHF) in 2011 has already paid dividends, helping to formulate and orchestrate an online Question and Answer service in English, German and Spanish, regarding prostate health. The online service provides a resource for men to ask questions in an anonymous setting about any aspect of prostate health and be answered by a highly qualified health professional (

The legacy of such a service is that it will enable information to be gathered from men across Europe on their experience of developing problems involving the prostate, seeking support, diagnosis and treatment, and the responses they have had from health service providers in regard to these issues. The information gained will help to formulate a report for use by professionals and policy makers to aid them in dealing with men's prostate related healthcare. Support by EAUN board members Willem De Blok and Susanne Hieronymi in this project, has been an integral part of its success.

Building on this initial success and in consideration of the wider aspects of men’s health in Europe, the EAUN was once again invited by the EMHF to attend a roundtable discussion in Brussels in June, which I attended to discuss improving outcomes and access in primary care. The challenges focused on primacy care as a whole and in addition specific professions, including general practice, pharmacy and dentistry, representing a wider multiprofessional context to this problem. Dr. Isabel De La Mata, Principal Adviser for Public Health, Directorate SANCO - Health and Consumers, European Commission set the scene in her initial address, with some clear admissions, by stating that men’s health has not followed the same pace as women’s health and has taken longer to come to the attention of politicians in Europe.

The focused workshops very much provided the practical opportunity to consider the problems facing men and primary care and to make recommendations that would address these. Recommendations ranged from engaging with young professionals and student organisations to reach men proactively where they are (e.g. workplaces and trade unions, sports and faith organisations), especially young men, to more strategic approaches e.g. securing EU funding for a pan-European, multi-professional men’s health outreach project. The meeting very much highlighted the strength in unity to address men’s health and it proved again to be a very worthwhile opportunity to champion the cause, which the EAUN will continue to support as an organisation.

Lawrence Drudge-Coates
Chair Elect EAUN
London (UK)

Article from Urology Nursing Today, June/July 2013

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