Towards greater health equity in Europe: a new European health policy, Health 2020
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Towards greater health equity in Europe: a new European health policy, Health 2020

Plans to develop a new European health policy, ‘Health 2020’ were agreed at the WHO Regional Office for Europe’s annual Regional Committee meeting which, this year, took place from 13 to 16 September 2010 in Moscow, Russian Federation.

The annual meeting of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe provides a forum for discussion between the 53 Member States in the European Region, international organizations, health experts and representatives from the non-governmental sector.

This year’s meeting, the first with Zsuzsanna Jakab as the WHO Regional Director for Europe, marked a change in the priorities and vision for public health in the Region.

Health 2020 aims to confirm the underlying values and principles, and provide for an integrated and consistent framework to address the recent challenges to health and health equity in Europe in an effective way at regional, national and subnational levels, working closely with all Member States, relevant sectors and partners.

A new study on health inequalities in Europe will provide a basis for this health policy. This study will analyze the social determinants of health, in particular as they affect the health divide in Europe, as well as the social gradient in societies, vulnerable population groups, gender and the impact of all these aspects on health policies and actions by governments. It will also address all the other determinants of health, such as lifestyles, the environment and climate change, and food safety.

The policy will promote health as a governmental responsibility and emphasize the need for inter-sectoral collaboration, while maintaining the important and critical role played by the health minister, who is in the driving seat for all health-related matters within and beyond the health care system.

A draft policy framework is expected to be presented at the next meeting of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in 2011, and finalized in 2012.

Further information is available at the website of the WHO Regional Office for Europe.

Photo: Plenary session with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin

From left: Mr Vladimir Lazarevik, Deputy Minister of Health, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Ms Zuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe; Ms Tatyana Golikova, Minister of Health and Social Development, Russian Federation; Mr Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, and Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General at a plenary session. (Photo: WHO/R. Kuznetsova)

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