SHARP Joint Action’s 13th Steering Committee and 4th Advisory board meeting on 6 May 2022 saw 38 SHARP members from 18 organisations present at a full day meeting hosted at the Public Health Agency of Sweden (FOHM) headquarters in Stockholm. For the first time since the start of the pandemic, 15 representatives were able to attend in person.
Head of Unit Otto Helve from SHARP’s coordinator organisation, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), and Andreas Bråve, Head of Department, FOHM, welcomed participants and put into words the shared joy of meeting SHARP colleagues face to face, after more than two years of online meetings.
Anna Katz and Outi Karvonen, SHARP’s project managers at THL gave an overview of the current progress and administrative issues of the EU funded Joint Action. 11 out of 33 deliverables had been achieved by the beginning of May, which leaves SHARP with a very demanding timetable to deliver before the end of the Joint Action in March 2023.
“Hard work is needed to keep our promises to the European Commission. So far, the Commission has been very understanding about the situation due to COVID-19, which has hindered the work of all participating countries and organisations.”Outi Karvonen, SHARP’s project manager at THL
Sustainability in the minds of all work packages
Each work package (WP) took the stage and gave a presentation on both their challenges and options for the remaining period. Further synergy was found between the participating organisations, and many offered their help to others in different tasks and plans, for example in organizing trainings in the following months.
Highlighted in the discussion was the importance of planning ahead – the time to plan next year is now.
Integration in national policies and sustainability, led by SHARP’s WP4, was also an important topic of discussion.
Katz reminded the work packages:
“The sustainability of the deliverables must be considered well in advance. Firstly, which deliverables need to be sustainable, and secondly, what are the best ways to achieve that?”
In parallel, focusing on the tasks and finishing the work at hand, is crucial. This was also emphasized by European Commission DG Sante’s representative taking part in the meeting.
In addition, ECDC and WHO EURO’s representatives presented their key activities for the near future. Also, JA TERROR’s representative gave an update on the joint action, highlighting the importance of sustainability and the need to ensure the shelf life of the work done in joint actions. Thoughts and ideas on sustainability were even shared by a representative from recently finished EU Healthy Gateways Joint Action.