Low health literacy has real effects on health and illness; people with low health literacy levels make more mistakes with medication or treatment. Those people also rate their health as lower and are more likely to have unhealthy lifestyles. In Northern Ireland 18% of working age adults perform at the lowest literacy levels.
Belfast Healthy Cities participated in the recent WHO European Healthy Cities National Network meeting, where City Coordinators were introduced to Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director and other newly appointed WHO Healthy Cities personnel.
Belfast Healthy Cities launched its 2016 Election Briefing to political representatives at Stormont to outline its priorities and the significant role MLAs can play in advancing the main issues affecting health and wellbeing across Northern Ireland. Topics highlighted included Healthy Life Expectancy; Health Literacy and Championing Health in all Ages. Belfast Healthy Cities looks forward to working with all political parties to address these important issues.
The role of new technology in helping to deliver a modern health service and address health inequalities was at the centre of a major seminar in Belfast today.
The seminar was hosted by the WHO body, Belfast Healthy Cities and was part of a series focused on sharing learning from Belfast Healthy Cities’ Finnish colleagues in the WHO European Network. Alongside speakers from Finland there were contributions from Northern Ireland, Wales.
Belfast Healthy Cities is offering an annual bursary throughout WHO European Healthy Cities Phase VI (2014-2019). It will allow individuals working in the field of health and wellbeing, including healthy urban planning and design, to visit another WHO European Healthy City or National Network to study their approach to addressing a key issue relating to health inequalities.
The bursary is open to applicants living or working in Belfast from all sectors including community, voluntary, public and business sectors.
Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín opened the latest capacity building seminar from Belfast Healthy Cities at The MAC in Belfast.
Belfast Healthy Cities invited Finnish colleagues from the city of Turku, a member of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network to share their experiences of embedding cultural activities for health and wellbeing in the city, while local examples were also used to demonstrate how cultural activities have contributed to positively energising communities, contributing to good health and wellbeing.
The 2015 bursary proved a popular and competitive process. Reflecting the quality of proposals submitted, it was awarded jointly to Stephanie Thompson, South Belfast Partnership, who studied drug and alcohol policy in Glasgow and Jelena Buick, Belfast City Council who travelled to Barcelona to examine innovative approaches to addressing food and fuel poverty. Both award holders presented their findings at the Belfast Healthy Cities Annual General Meeting in February 2015.
Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín welcomed participants to Shaping Places for Healthy Lives , which examined how the places we live in shape our lives, our health and our wellbeing.
Other speakers included, Leo Kosonen, former Chief Planner of Kuopio (Finland), Sandy Robinson, Principal Architect of the Scottish Government and Phil Williams, Director of Planning and Place, Belfast City Council.
Presentations from the seminar, which was organised in partnership with the Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG) are now available.
The WHO Belfast Healthy City Awards were presented in Belfast by Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr. Guy Spence.
The winners were
Healthy Living Award, Studio 5 CIC NI
Promoting Health Equity Award, Shopmobility Belfast Ltd
Healthy Places Award , College Park Avenue Residents Association
Engaging for Change, CLARE CIC