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EFA publishes report on Finnish Allergy Programme educational meeting in Helsinki

During the Finnish Allergy Programme educational meeting in Helsinki, many useful and sometimes surprising lessons were learned about the best ways to raise awareness of a cause and take action when the way forward (and sources of funding!) may not necessarily be clear. The report details how EFA delegations from Italy (Tuscany), Norway and Bulgaria – all of which had expressed a clear interest in developing allergy programmes in their countries or regions – gathered in Helsinki to hear and to learn about Finland’s experience developing the Finnish Allergy Programme (FAP), which began in 2008 with the overall aim of reducing the national Finnish allergy burden over the course of 10 years. Finnish representatives of the programme and other Finnish stakeholders shared their experience of pioneering such a programme, and offered interesting and constructive views on what they have learned from their experiences to date.

The report summarises the FAP’s advice on media campaigns, the importance of involving health professionals and the value of mobilising a national network when funding is an issue. It also highlights the key message of the FAP: be creative (especially in terms of where you look for funding), measure impact and, in terms of media campaigns, go to places (i.e. media sites) where people really go. The report is a useful summary of a campaign that has so far proved a success: four years on, the FAP is making very positive progress and is on course to achieve its aim of reducing the allergy burden by 2018. It has led a successful media campaign which has raised awareness of the disease area, and despite initially being unsure of where funding would come from, it has so far managed to secure it, often from unconventional sources.

EFA would urge all members to read about the FAP, and intends to organise similar meetings for interested delegations in the future. Download the report here and press releases here.