Health 2020 is the WHO initiative for a new vision, approach and tools to help the Region look at health policy and how it is developed until 2020. The success or failure of Health 2020 lay in partnerships and alliances to promote health. The WHO Europe’s objectives for Health 2020 and strengthening health systems with a strong public health component; implementing the Tallinn Charter; and emphasizing noncommunicable diseases.
At the European Health Policy Forum of High-level Government Officials on 19–20 April 2012, the WHO presented a draft of the Action Plan including a set of 10 horizontal essential public health operations (EPHOs) as a guiding basis for European health authorities to set up, monitor and evaluate policies, strategies and actions to strengthen public health. A version revised on the basis of comments from Member States will be presented to the Standing Committee of the Regional Committee in May.
The final draft of the European Public Health Action Plan will be submitted to Regional Committee 62 in Malta in September 2012.
In its response, EPHA welcomes the WHO initiative to develop an overarching policy framework to promote health until 2020. Ministries of health are encouraged to endorse the whole-of-government approach and focus on social determinates of health. EPHA has been advocating for involvement of all sectors of society to reduce health inequity, and the action plan recognises the importance of building partnerships in sectors outside of health. However, EPHA encourages for greater involvement of civil society organisations in these partnerships and suggests wider engagement with health professionals.
The EPHO on communication and research highlights the importance of communication, advocacy, and research to evidence-based policy making and better health outcomes. For the EPHOs on health promotion and disease prevention, EPHA recommends including injuries which represent a huge public health challenge and further actions on alcohol consumption. To strengthen the social and health equity dimension as well as the whole-of-government approach EPHA calls on ministries of health and the WHO to include a stronger dimension on child health.
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