Joint Action on Health Inequalities

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Action to tackle health inequalities is required at EU, national, regional and local level, with a wide range of stakeholders across a range of policy areas. The challenge for this Joint Action is to assist the Member States involved to develop tools to better enable health inequalities to be addressed in cross-government policy making, to access the evidence, and to engage with key stakeholders especially regions. Much of the work is mapping and consensus building, and is a practical approach to taking forward the EU Communication, building on earlier work on Health Impact Assessments (HIA), Health in All Policies (HiAP), and modelling.

Aims & Objectives: 

The general objectives of the Joint Action are to help reduce health inequalities by:

  • Developing  knowledge for action on health inequalities

  • Supporting the engagement of Member States, regions and other stakeholders in action to tackle socio-economic health inequalities

  • Sharing learning between Member States and other actors

  • Supporting the development of effective action to tackle socio-economic health inequalities at the European policy level


This project is a direct response to the 2010 Work Plan call for a Joint Action on health inequalities, and is a direct outcome of deliberations between interested Member States and the European Commission on how to deliver a structured programme of work.

The project will develop a common understanding of a Health in All Policies approach, and its application at EU, MS and sub-national level. Consensus will be developed on methodologies for conducting policy orientated HIA with an equity focus (HIAef), and Health Equity Audits (HEA). Countries will test a HIAef or HEA, with an HEAs being carried out at EU level.

EuroHealthNet will be involved in the establishment of a regional network which will identify through a case study approach the focus, information, resources, drivers, opportunities and barriers to regional action on HI, and access to structural funds. Recommendations will be made to inform the future drafting of structural funds.

Finally, a scientific and technical advisory board will be established to review evidence and inform scientific discussion, and a broad range of stakeholders will be engaged through producing relevant literature and workshops at EU and MS level on a number of policy areas to be identified by partners.

The Joint Action on Health Inequalities will run for 36 months and is led by the National Heart Forum and Health Action Partnership International (HAPI) in the UK. The project started in February 2011 and involves 19 main partners – mainly public health and health promotion Ministries and National Agencies.



EuroHealthNet illustrates the strong links which exist between health, poverty and social exclusion
European Quality of Life Survey 2012
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