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Thanks to bilateral initiatives, Czech organizations have established or deepened relations with Norwegian and Icelandic partners

Department 58 – International Relations
Department 58 – International Relations


Organization of seminars for the professional public, creation of joint analysis, improvement of mutual understanding, and often also agreements on ongoing cooperation and joint projects. These are the results of the so-called bilateral initiatives of the Health Programme supported by the EEA and Norway Grants. Their participants focused on sharing experiences, for example in the field of eating disorders, the involvement of peer consultants in care in acute psychiatric wards, or the availability of follow-up care for people with aphasia.

Representatives of the patient organization Cerebrum, which provides therapeutic assistance to people with brain damage, went on a study visit to the Norwegian partner Afasiforbundet i Norge. They focused on so-called aphasia, which is a loss or disorder of speech caused by a disruption of the speech areas of the brain that occurs after a brain injury. Together, they prepared a report on the main differences in the approach to the aftercare of people with aphasia and a proposal for measures to improve the situation of these people in the Czech Republic. It states that while in Norway patients receive intensive therapy five times a week for two months, the intensity of therapy in the Czech Republic is very diverse, usually once a week to once every three months. At the same time, intensive speech therapy is proving to be more effective in foreign research. "In Norway, they also face the problem of a shortage of speech therapists, and patients have to commute much greater distances from their place of residence to their place of treatment. That is why they launched a pilot project of telerehabilitation in Norway, which proved to be a very efficient method in the treatment of aphasia comparable to personal contact," said Cerebrum Director Jana Dobrkovská. Cerebrum wants to use the experience gained during this bilateral cooperation and, with the support of a Norwegian partner, launch a telemedicine pilot project in the Czech Republic.

The Centre for the Development of Mental Health Care organized a professional seminar with the participation of the Norwegian partner Centre for Mental Health and Substance Abuse – the University of South-Eastern Norway and representatives of the Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital. The workshop resulted in an output entitled "Preliminary analysis of barriers to the involvement of peer consultants in acute care in the Czech Republic", which will serve as a guide for the practice of integrating people with personal experience with the disease into acute care in the Czech Republic, and also as a project basis for the expected further development of bilateral cooperation this year.

Representatives of the Health Promotion Centre, which focuses on eating disorders, also agreed on ongoing cooperation with the Norwegian partner Spiseforstyrrelsesforeningen. "For example, we discussed the type of services provided. The partner also drew our attention to some key points such as the appropriate selection of images, the anonymity of clients or the website. We want to continue our cooperation within the planned call for a small grant scheme. The partner organization promised us active cooperation in the planned project of creating a centre for eating disorders in the Czech Republic," described the director of the Health Promotion Centre Lenka Plzáková.

A total of 14 similar smaller projects took place last year and this year within the Health programme to develop cooperation between the Czech and Norwegian and Icelandic partners.

This year's bilateral initiatives are followed by the Open Calls for Grant Applications in two thematic areas, namely "Promoting the mental health of children and adolescents" (the call was opened between 15 May and 31 July 2020) and "Prevention of communicable and non-communicable diseases in socially excluded localities with a focus on the Roma population” (the call was opened on 24 July and will be closed on 30 September 2020). Furthermore, the call will be followed by the calls of the so-called small grant scheme focusing on the mental health of children and adolescents, dementia and Alzheimer's disease and on strengthening the role of patient organizations. The Ministry of Health expects them to open in the autumn of this year. All current information can be found on the websites of the EEA and Norway Grants and on the website of the Ministry of Health.