As part of the 2014 European Public Health (EPH) Conference1, which kicks off today, EuroHealthNet will release some of its policy recommendations from “DRIVERS for health equity”, an EU-funded research project coordinated by EuroHealthNet’s Centre for Innovation, Research and Implementation in Health & Wellbeing (CIRI). Health inequalities are a major challenge to public health in Europe and reducing them is a priority for the EU. People with a lower level of education or income die at a younger age, and have, within their shorter lives, a higher prevalence of all kinds of health problems. Health inequalities are not biological determined, but ultimately derive from the actions of individuals, companies and governments. Health inequalities are avoidable and action beyond the health sector is needed.
DRIVERS presents solutions to reducing health inequalities through policy and practice that optimise early childhood development, that promote fair employment and healthy working conditions, and provide minimum income and universal social protection measures. According to Professor Johannes Siegrist who has led work on employment and working conditions, “national budgets should strengthen sustainable employment and safe working conditions, particularly among disadvantaged people”.
DRIVERS will be featured prominently throughout the EPH Conference. One session will see DRIVERS research from the EuroHealthNet team on effective ways to advocate for health equity, based on a systematic review of the literature and five case studies across Europe. DRIVERS Coordinator Claudia Marinetti argues that “overall, different kinds of evidence are needed for making decisions, and that increased contact between policy makers and researchers would facilitate a better transfer of knowledge. Advocacy organisations like EuroHealthNet can play a crucial role in bridging the ‘cultural worlds’ of research, practice and policy, and the health sector needs to adapt language and find shared objectives to successfully work across sectors”.
Taking such a Health in All Policies approach, public health advocates should also consider the eleven thematic priorities of the EU Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) to identify funding opportunities that can address health equity. ESIF should be used in a strategic manner, linked to regional development strategies for improving health and ensuring a better distribution of health across society. At the EPH conference, Caroline Costongs, EuroHealthNet Managing Director, will speak about the EU Semester, the Social Investment Package, and provide examples of how the application of ESIF can contribute to health equity and regional development in the EU. She will also make a reference to the guidance tool www.fundsforhealth.eu2 that was produced by EuroHealthNet in the context of the Joint Action “Equity Action”3.
DRIVERS is currently developing a set of final recommendations and principles that can be used to help create a more social and fair Europe. These will be presented at an event on 3 February 2015 at the European Parliament in Brussels.
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- For more information on the European Public Health Conference, click here or contact Caroline Costongs, EuroHealthNet Managing Director
- For more information on DRIVERS and its event on 3 February 2015, click here or contact Claudia Marinetti, EuroHealthNet Research Manager.
- For more information on EuroHealthNet’s European Centre for Innovation, Research & Implementation in Health & Wellbeing (CIRI), click here
- To follow the DRIVERS project on Twitter, click here
Notes to the editors
1. The European Public Health Conference
The annual EPH conference is an initiative of the European Public Health Association (EUPHA) in partnership with ASPHER, EuroHealthNet, the European Observatory for Health Systems and the Open Society Foundation that aims to contribute to the improvement of public health in Europe by offering the means to exchange information and a platform for debate to researchers, policy makers, practitioners, young professionals and students in the field of public health, health services research and public health training and education. www.ephconference.eu
2. Guidance tool – Funds for Health
The Structural Funds Guidance Tool for Health equity has been developed by EuroHealthNet as part of Equity Action. The tool provides concrete examples and the practical information on structural funds that can directly be applied to increase health equity. To access the guidance tool on European structural and Investment Funds for health - click here.
The publication, “Health Equity and Regional Development in the EU (Applying EU Structural Funds)" is available here
3. Joint Action “Equity Action”
Equity Action was a Joint Action between the EU and Member States, jointly funded by the EU Health Programme, 15 EU member states and Norway, and involved 25 partner organisations, 30 regions and numerous stakeholders. The aim of the project was to promote a health equity focus in policy making through identifying tools, analysing and influencing policy making processes such as Health Impact Assessments with an equity focus and Health Equity Audits, as well as through learning from existing or past practices. The Equity Action final conference took place on 23 January 2014 in Brussels, Belgium.
For more information on the Equity Action - click here.
EuroHealthNet, the European Partnership for improving Health, Equity and Wellbeing, is a partnership consisting primarily of responsible public health authorities and institutes working at regional, national and international levels across Europe. Its mission is to help improve population health and reduce health inequalities. Please see www.eurohealthnet.eu or contact EuroHealthNet’s Communication Coordinator Ariane Moret.