In the framework of our Health Equity Campaign, EPHA, the European Public Health Alliance, is holding today a one-day conference to assess whether the EU 2020 Strategy will achieve better health outcomes or on the contrary pose greater threats by increasing social and economic inequalities.
***For immediate release***
14 April 2011
While the average life expectancy in the European Union has increased in the past decades, differences in life expectancy at birth between the lowest and highest socio-economic groups reach ten years for men and six years for women in the EU and varies significantly between EU countries. In other words, the most excluded one is, the worse his or her health will be.
Archie Turnbull, EPHA President, said “People living in poverty are more likely to smoke, suffer from overweight and obesity and die earlier as a result. This concerns at least 80 million people at risk of poverty in Europe - 1 child out of 5. This will be further deepened by the financial crisis and the austerity measures and cuts in essential services that we observe. And yet, this is not factored into the Europe 2020 strategy.”
Together with more than 110 civil society organisations, EPHA is presenting today to the European Commission and Members of the European parliament a call for action, its European Charter for Health Equity, to effectively address health inequalities. This Charter is a civil society initiative, calling for leadership and accountability from EU institutions. It also aims to increase cooperation both between civil society and governmental institutions; as well as among civil society organisations working on e.g. social inclusion, housing, health and environment.
Turnbull added “EU leaders need to decide on a strong action-oriented and evidence-based strategy to reduce health inequalities that would foresee health, inclusion and poverty indicators. But we all also need to do much more than waiting for the EU to act; we need to go beyond “traditional” separated way of thinking”.
Tackling inequalities improves outcomes for the whole population, and needs the commitment and engagement from all actors, and all sectors.
Notes to the editor:
EPHA is the European Platform bringing together public health organisations representing health professionals, patients groups, health promotion and disease specific NGOs, academic groupings and other health associations. Our vision is of a Europe with universal good health and well-being, where all have access to a sustainable and high quality health system: A Europe whose policies and practices contribute to health, both within and beyond its borders.
The conference gathered civil society activites together with Sir Michael Marmot, Staffan Nilsson - president of the European Economic and Social Committee, and Jo Leinen MEP - Chair of the ENVI committee in the European Parliament