Spain – Ministry of Health of Catalonia – Public Health Secretary

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By Antoni Mateu i Serra

What are the aims of your Institute?

Our Institution provides public health services to protect and promote the health and safety of the population of Catalonia (circa 7.5 millions). The activities are organized around preventing diseases, promoting and protecting health, responding to public health emergencies and outbreaks and to tackle health inequalities. More than 1,000 health professionals are working to achieve these objectives. Our conceptual framework is based on intersectoral work acting mainly in the social determinants of health and health inequalities.

This approach implies the challenge of collaborating with different ministries and levels of government to develop healthy public policies, developing health goals and accountability frameworks that reflect the population health approach.

How do you work at national / regional levels?

Public health services in Catalonia were transferred to the Catalan government in 1977 when the Spanish and the Catalan governments reached an agreement to transfer the health planning and the public health competences to Catalonia. Structures were upgraded after decentralization, and teams reinforced, with trained and full-time staff.

Since then, Catalonia is responsible for the surveillance, protection and improvement of the health of its communities through health protection activities, health education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and research for disease and injury prevention.

Spanish Health Ministry of Health coordinates the public health action of the different regions in order to guarantee the equity among territories.

Why did you decide to become a Member of EuroHealthNet ?

Because we were interested in finding project partners and participating in different project activities , being informed on sector developments and EU funding programmes as well as to share our knowledge and experiences after all those years of Public Health work. We also want to improve our knowledge and strength for future projects or new funding programmes.

What is your vision (ideal scenario) for public health and health promotion in the EU? How can EuroHealthNet contribute to achieving this?

Our ideal vision of public health and health promotion in the EU would be a healthier Europe through the joint work of the different countries in health promotion, the reduction of health inequalities, the improvement of the leadership and the participatory governance for health.

EuroHealthNet can contribute to achieve this by promoting health and equity through addressing the factors that determine health directly or indirectly. The network can also provide support to the current and future members within the EU funded projects. Providing information on good practices and innovations and facilitating the networking.

Antoni Mateu i Serra

Antoni Mateu i Serra is a qualified Medical Doctor. He is a Public health Specialist and has an MSc in Health Economics and Health Management by the Barcelona University. He also has managerial training for the business schools of ESADE and IESE and an extensive experience as a Hospital manager. He joined the Catalan Institute of Health in 1989 as the head of the contracts’ unit and immediately became the Director of the High Pyrenees Health Sector. From 1998 to 2003 he was responsible for the Management Control Unit of the Lleida Health Region. Subsequently he was the managing director of this Health Region and to vice president of the Board of a public Company called Management of Health Services. From 2004 to 2007, he was the coordinator of the Catalan Institute of Medical Evaluation in Lleida. In 2007 was appointed as the territorial delegate of the Private Health Insurance Company, ASISA. Since February 2011 to April 2012 he has been the managing director of the Lleida Health Region and also part of the Board of Directors of the EGTC (European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation) and the Company SEMSA. From April 2012 he is the Director of the Catalan Public Health Agency and from January 2013 is the Secretary of Public Health of the Catalan Ministry of Health.