In this last year we have seen how the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the world. It put health and social policy front and centre of everybody’s consciousness and lives. It became clear that the virus and the policy measures taken to contain it, were hitting the more and most vulnerable members of our societies the hardest. People with – in many cases preventable, underlying health conditions – were also more likely to suffer from COVID-19.
The pandemic, or syndemic, has clearly and dramatically exposed the issues that are at the core of EuroHealthNet’s work; the centrality of health in our societies, the wide range of factors that affect health, and the pervasiveness of health inequalities. The pandemic came in the context of a more chronic environmental crisis, and amidst technological and demographic changes. The unprecedented recovery response, and the high number of proposals under the European ‘Green Deal’, the European Health Union, and the action plan for the European Pillar on Social Rights demonstrate that there are opportunities to “Build Back Better and Fairer”. These developments also highlight the relevance of EuroHealthNet’s ‘Health Equity in All Policies’ approach, and how working in a wide range of policy areas and across disciplines is vital to delivering health and reducing health inequities.
This Annual Report demonstrates EuroHealthNet played a crucial role and provided input, where possible and relevant, on how these policy initiatives could be designed and applied to maximise impact on health and wellbeing and reduce health inequities across the EU. We raised the awareness of EuroHealthNet members and broader stakeholders about new and/or relevant policies and tools and how they could be applied to address urgent, interrelated threats to health and social equity.