EuroHealthNet — the European partnership for promoting health, equity, and wellbeing — has called for investors to focus and increase their attention on the benefits of health promotion, disease prevention, and social equity.
At the annual meeting of EuroHealthNet’s General Council (Brussels 5-7 June), which included a public seminar ‘Smart investments? Let’s talk prevention’, members agreed on a Statement. It stresses the need for transformative approaches in funding and systems to improve public health and wellbeing, reduce inequalities and build sustainable societies.
EuroHealthNet reiterates its concern that prioritisation and direct funding for health promotion and social equity remain insufficient and lack ambition to successfully achieve all health and sustainable development goals and objectives set globally, in the EU, and at national and regional levels.
EuroHealthNet confirms that the future for health lies with effective health promotion and the prevention of diseases through community-based services linking people and professionals to shape the conditions for health equity and wellbeing.
European Commission proposals for a future EU Health Programme 2021-27 could bring more integrated approaches within the European Social Fund (ESF+) and Horizon Europe programme. The new InvestEU programme also seems promising with a specific window on social investment and skills, including health, education and housing, that could help reduce inequalities with appropriate leadership from investors and health stakeholders.
Nevertheless EuroHealthNet expresses regret that the EC proposals:
- include reductions of already modest funds and give insufficient explicit attention to health promotion;
- do not sufficiently address how growing levels of non-communicable diseases and health inequalities will be tackled;
- do not sufficiently promote health and wellbeing in other proposed programmes impacting on health determinants, specifically proposals regarding the Common Agricultural Policy.
Therefore EuroHealthNet calls on the EU Council and Parliament to consider improvements to the Multiannual Financial Framework that fully implement the EU Treaty requirements to protect health in all policies, and to promote wellbeing, cohesion, and social equity.
EuroHealthNet will make further analysis and recommendations on relevant EU budget proposals for the EPSCO Council of social and health ministers meeting in June. It is already working closely with national and regional partners on economic and social actions within the 2018 European Semester. It will continue to develop this work to support the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
EuroHealthNet Director Caroline Costongs said “Our annual seminar and meeting showed that innovative funding instruments and programmes can transform systems to more health promoting ones with positive impacts on health inequalities. Our members have now committed to further investigate how to make this happen and we will closely monitor MFF negotiations.”
A new EuroHealthNet board was also elected at the General Council meeting.