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Comprehensive Report on Health Inequities in Europe published
The WHO Regional Office for Europe has just published the Review of social determinants and the health divide in the WHO European Region, coordinated by University College London’s Institute of Health Equity.
Based on over three years of research by a cross-disciplinary consortium of Europe’s leading scientists the report provides an unprecedented evidence-based set of practical policy recommendations about what all countries can do to address the so-called “upstream” causes of health inequities, specifically targeted to their income level.
This review crystallizes vital new knowledge for governments so that they can cut health inequalities and put people at the centre of health systems – the goals of Health 2020, the European health policy framework. It answers the demand from policy-makers for practical guidance on identifying social policies that work to reduce inequities in health between and within low-, middle- and high-income countries. It presents compelling new Region-specific economic and human-rights-based evidence for why action on the social determinants of health is needed now. The financial crisis threatens a public health emergency, and inaction will lead to a worsening of social, economic and health burdens.
This review underlines the stubborn and tenacious nature of health inequalities across Europe. It reinforces the message that people’s health is shaped by the conditions in which they live, work and age, and that action is needed to improve them. It outlines how unemployment, particularly the persistent high levels of youth unemployment, is a public health time bomb waiting to explode and recommends that Governments look at the impact of their policies on the lives people are able to lead and, more importantly, at the impact on inequailty