The Time is Now: Achieving FH Paediatric Screening Across Europe

In today’s digital age, we have unprecedented access to a wealth of knowledge. However, our behavior is increasingly influenced by a lack of awareness, misinformation, and distrust. To address this, effective communication strategies are essential. This piece explores the importance of trust, raising awareness, and promoting behavior change in the context of FH screening—an important public health initiative. By utilizing clear communication, building trust, and engaging various stakeholders, we can overcome barriers and work towards implementing universal FH screening across Europe.

Trust is the cornerstone of positive relationships, and it becomes particularly crucial when faced with uncertainty. Whether on a population level or individual challenges, trust plays a pivotal role in how we behave and interact. However, trust in institutions, including science, has been declining. To bridge this trust gap, we must demonstrate competence, honesty, and reliability. In the field of public health, trust-building efforts should be focused on translating scientific evidence into policies and interventions collaboratively. By emphasizing co-benefits and upholding our commitment to honesty and reliability, we can foster this trust and drive positive behavioral change.

Despite the scientific evidence supporting FH screening and its cost-effectiveness, its implementation remains limited across Europe. The main barrier is a lack of awareness. To address this, persistent and repetitive information campaigns are essential. These campaigns should target patients, citizens, women as caregivers, children, educators, healthcare professionals, and policymakers. Key principles of effective communication include adjusting values, tones, and channels to the audience, using simple and actionable messages in accessible language, and actively listening to concerns. Emotional engagement, co-creation, consistency, and stakeholder alignment are also vital for successful awareness-raising initiatives.

Every child has the right to the highest attainable standard of health, irrespective of sex, race, or socioeconomic status. The first 1000 days of a child’s life are crucial, and early detection of FH can make a significant difference in their quality of life and even save lives. However, public policy developments often overlook the participation of children, and services targeting children are rarely designed together with their input. By adopting a participatory approach and addressing health inequalities, especially among vulnerable groups, we can ensure the systemic implementation of FH screening in children.

By prioritizing children’s participation, addressing health inequalities, and engaging stakeholders collaboratively, we can achieve universal FH screening across Europe. Let us persist in our efforts, emphasizing co-benefits and upholding trust to improve public health outcomes.

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