The two-year VulnerABLE project is drawing near its end, with the Final Dissemination Conference scheduled to take place on 07 November 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (Rue Gineste 3, 1210 Brussels).
The project is a two-year pilot initiative of the European Commission (DG SANTE), run by ICF, in partnership with EuroHealthNet, the UCL Institute of Health Equity, Social Platform, GfK and EPHA. Aiming to investigate the most effective strategies for improving the health of people living in isolated and vulnerable situations in the European Union, EPHA’s involvement was to disseminate project-relevant information and to coordinate qualitative and quantitative inputs from a number of EPHA members related to the nine specific vulnerable and isolated populations included in the project: children and families from disadvantaged backgrounds; those living in rural/isolated areas; those with physical, mental and learning disabilities or poor mental health; the long-term unemployed; the inactive; the ‘in-work poor’; older people; victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence; people with unstable housing situations (the homeless); and prisoners. The project does not cover Roma health, this being the focus of another EPHA campaign.
Due to their circumstances, the groups described above may be more at risk of poor health and/or face barriers in accessing healthcare services. VulnerABLE serves to assess their particular health needs and challenges, as well as identify best practices to support them and ultimately improve their health. Over the last couple of years, leading experts and thinkers have made verbal and written contributions, an in-depth literature review was conducted, and representatives and members of vulnerable and isolated populations were invited to take part in surveys and focus groups.
The conference will bring together all the results, discussions and outputs of the project, to be shared across a wide spectrum of stakeholders including national, regional and local authorities from EU national governments; health providers; NGOs and CSOs working in the field of health inequalities and vulnerable persons; and the European Commission and other EU institutions. It will reflect on the issues at hand with the objective of defining aspirations for the future.
The discussion will be organised around four main themes and the following questions will be addressed:
- Universal health coverage: How can universal access to healthcare be guaranteed for everyone irrespective of their age, gender, socio-economic and health status? To what extent should health systems be re-organised to ensure universal access?
- Multi-sectoral approaches: what are the links between healthcare policies and policies in other areas? What actions are required to ensure inclusive healthcare?
- Addressing the needs of the target groups: what is the most effective way to address the health needs of persons living in isolated and vulnerable situations? Are there good practice initiatives that could be transferred to other MSs/organisations?
- Addressing the economic determinants of health: how can we remove socio-economic barriers to healthcare and make EU societies more inclusive?