A series of actions to reduce health inequalities has been announced by the European Commission.
The plans, announced as a formal communication, include measures to monitor the impact of policies at all levels on the differences in people’s health across the EU.
“[I]mproving the exchange of information and knowledge and improving the coordination of policies between different levels of government and across a number of sectors…can create more effective action and achieve a larger and consistent impact,” the document says.
The Commission also stressed the need to work with organizations and groups from other sectors as well as those directly involved in health matters.
“There is also a need to create more effective partnerships with stakeholders that can help to promote action on various social determinants and thus improve health outcomes,” the Commission says.
The Equity Channel is already leading the way on this, as an online centre, supported by an international collaboration, for people and groups who are interested in improving health equity.
Among our partners, EuroHealthNet is working on developing the capacity of member states to act on health inequalities through the Determine initiative, while the Gradient project is researching the impact of public health policies on families and children.
Additionally, University College London is carrying out a review of health inequalities in England post 2010, and Business in the Community is addressing the role of the private sector in addressing health inequalities.
If you would like get involved, please go to this section of our website.
Recommended areas for action by the European Commission include promoting EU-level uptake and dissemination of good practice and providing funding for professional training to address health inequalities.
The actions, which are not legally binding, were jointly announced by EU Commissioner for health, Androulla Vassiliou, and Vladimír Špidla, Commissioner for employment, social affairs and equal opportunities.
“Promoting the reduction of health inequalities has not been mainstreamed in an explicit manner in EU policies…and many of them do not take the dimension of health inequalities into account,” said Vassiliou.
Špidla echoed the need for work across a wide range of sectors in order to tackle health inequalities.
“It is quite clear that this is a very complex situation and a tremendous number of factors need to be improved,” he said.
“Solidarity in health is a goal to which the EU must work,” he added.
The full text of the European Commission communication on action to reduce health inequalities, plus additional background material, can be downloaded here.
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