Learning from the Arts’: Youth Taskforce reports on WHO Europe’s expert meeting on NCD prevention
One of CO-CREATE’s Youth Taskforce members, Mafalda Gonçalves, has composed the below report on the WHO Europe-led event “Expert meeting on NCD prevention and control: learning from the arts”.
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On the 15th and 16th of December I had the pleasure to attend the “Expert meeting on NCD prevention and control: learning from the arts”, organized by the WHO Regional Office for Europe. It took place in the magnificent Opera House of the beautiful city of Budapest, Hungary.
The meeting brought together a broad range of stakeholders from the arts, cultural institutions, health-care practitioners, academics, and policymakers, as well as behavioural insights and digital health experts with the intention to understand the potential role of arts in the prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and treatment in the region, and globally. In the two days that the meeting took place, we got to know a great number of projects and to discuss different subjects related to the topic that brought us together. We also had the privilege to be presented with “Art Breaks”, which suited the theme of the encounter: from dancing to singing, it was, in fact, a very enriching experience and very different from the traditional types of breaks we usually see in these kinds of events.
As a youth representative, I was responsible for bringing a different perspective to the table, not only as a young person, but also as a medicine and musical theatre student living in Portugal. I used my experience to provide my opinions about the topics that were discussed, and to get to know more about various concepts that I was not familiar with, which allowed me to leave the meeting with a piece of greater knowledge about several issues that will be very important in my professional life, such as the idea of a “social prescription”. I also got the opportunity to talk about the CO-CREATE project, which I am (very proudly) a part of.
If I had to describe my experience in one word, I would say that it was innovative. It was fantastic to be invited to discuss two of my favourite topics (arts and health), which usually don’t get related very often but that, as we concluded from the meeting, should, in fact, walk hand in hand, since they can both benefit so much from each other. I also got to witness that, when people are motivated to work and to try to change the world, the dynamics and the outcomes are unbelievable. Although our time in the meeting was short, the environment was amazing: everybody that was there wanted to help with the creation of something. The dialogues were very productive, and it was very good decision to have members from several areas, from a great number of countries, and from a vast age range. Related to this last topic, I felt very welcomed as a youth representative and, once again, I felt how important it is to create these kinds of opportunities for young people since they bring a different perspective to the table: more modern, not so traditional and based on their experiences.
To conclude, it was a pleasure to be a part of such an event and to join a dialogue about these very important subjects, especially the arts that, although they tend to be forgotten, should be given a bigger importance and role in our society.