New Report: “Health Equity and Regional Development in the EU - Applying EU Structural Funds to Address Health Inequalities”

Public health decision makers should recognise the potential of Structural Funds to help re-orient health and social systems to deliver sustainable services that contribute to health equity and adopt a strategic approach to exploit this potential. This is one of the key recommendations from a new report, published by the Equity Action, the EU co-funded Joint Action on Health Inequalities, on subnational action to tackle health inequalities using EU Structural Funds. The report has been led by EuroHealthNet, coordinator of the work strand that brought together a network of 30 regions in 10 Member States, which looked at regional approaches to reduce health inequalities in the EU.

The new Equity Action report makes the case for why health (equity) is integral to societies' economic and social development and investigates what is needed to address health inequalities at the subnational level. The second part of the report focuses on EU Structural Funds, and provides practical tips and recommendations on how public health actors can use this important EU Funding mechanism to improve health and ensure a better distribution of health across society.

Equity Action is a collaboration between the European Commission and EU Member States to take forward a number of actions identified in the EC Communication Solidarity in Health: Reducing Health Inequalities in the EU. It is jointly funded by the EU Health Programme, 15 EU Member States and Norway, and involves 25 partner organisations, 30 regions and numerous stakeholders. The Equity Action programme is built around four core work strands, one of them focusing on subnational action to tackle health inequalities.

Outcomes of the overall Equity Action programme will be showcased and discussed during its Final Conference, which will take place on 23 January 2014 at the Charlemagne Building of the European Commission in Brussels. Confirmed key note speakers include Commissioner Tonio Borg (DG SANCO, European Commission), Prof Sir Michael Marmot (Institute of Health Equity), Zsuzsanna Jakab (WHO Regional Office for Europe) and the Ministers of Health from Belgium, Ireland and Greece.

The new Equity Action report on subnational action to tackle health inequalities and the use of EU Structural Funds for health equity can be downloaded from the Equity Action website. Should you wish to receive hardcopies, please contact Ingrid Stegemani.stegeman@euroheatlhnet.eu.

Further information about the Equity Action Final Conference can be found on the updated Equity Action website. With space limited and interest already very high, we advise you register early to avoid disappointment. Learn more about Equity Action here, or contact the Coordinator - Chris Brookes