The Dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Porto (FPCEUP) Pedro Nobre was one of the Portuguese speakers attending the 2024 Annual Summit of the European University Alliance for Global Health (EUGLOH). The event was held on June 11 – 14 at the University of Szeged (Hungary) under the motto “all roads lead to EUGLOH”.

Entitled Beyond EUGLOHRIA: Envisaging a Future where Global Health policy makers rely on scientific evidence with social impact: the example of psychological & sexual health, Professor Nobre’s lecture was warmly welcomed and his call for the inclusion of Mental and Sexual Health on the map of Global Health was accepted by those responsible for EUGLOH.

Watch Professor Nobre’s lecture (from 45′ onwards).

On the importance of Mental and Sexual Health

According to the Dean of FPCEUP, “although these two dimensions (Mental Health and Sexual Health) are recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as pivotal to the concept of Global Health, the truth is that they still tend to get neglected in terms of funding for research as well as public investment in health policies at a global level”.

However, scientific evidence shows the central relevance of both dimensions. According to recent data from the WHO, almost one billion people around the world suffer from mental health problems (one in every 8 people); one in every 100 deaths is caused by suicide; people with serious mental health problems live on average 10 to 20 years less and the impact on the quality of life of those suffering, on the social context and on the economy of the countries is extremely significant.

Sexual health also tends to be undervalued, despite the significant number of sexually transmitted infections (estimated at around 1 million per day); the number of deaths from HIV-AIDS is still extremely high (650 thousand per year); the fact that one in every 3 women and children is a victim of sexual and gender-based violence worldwide; or the fact that between 20% and 35% of people suffer from sexual dysfunctions.

For Professor Nobre, “these indicators emphasize the centrality of Mental and Sexual Health in the context of Global Health and require an increased attention from institutions with responsibility in these areas in combating the stigma associated with people who suffer from these conditions; in research funding and investment in public policies to promote Mental and Sexual Health”.

A commitment for the Future

As a network of European universities working on the topic of Global Health, EUGLOH has a strongresponsibility in this matter. In the future, synergies between researchers working in these areas at the 9 universities of the network are expected to move forward.

The University of Porto – and FPCEUP in particular – has privileged conditions (taking into account the existence of research centers, laboratories such as SexLab and PhD programmes in the fields of mental and sexual health) to develop research synergies in these areas and influence public policies that promote Mental and Sexual Health at a European and global level.