by | April 3, 2024 | Newsletters

EPHA Newsletter | Making headway on health equity

When wrapping up last year in EPHA’s December newsletter, I wrote about how we were at a crossroads when it comes to health equity. At that point, we were looking ahead to a year full of ambitious plans to help make healthcare access and health outcomes more equitable in Europe. The first quarter of 2024 is soon behind us, and I am proud to say that we have picked our path and are making headway, slow and steady, but determined. 

Many of those planned activities are already taking place or being prepared. With the DisQo Stakeholder Network, we are hard at work preparing a conference on the health of People of African Descent on 26 and 27 June. On Roma Health, the EPHA-led Roma Health Network released a consultation response on the National Roma Strategic Frameworks. Together with our members and network, we continue covering Early Childhood Development through the Child Guarantee. An article written by Luna Ali provides an insight to how we shape this work.  

EPHA prides itself on its large focus on factors influencing our health that may sit outside of the healthcare system; the Social Determinants of Health. An extremely important concept to consider, yet one incredibly broad and thus difficult to take concrete action on. We began unpacking the concept with an infographic in June, and also address the topic through the FH Europe-led PERFECTO project, which launched on 29 January in Warsaw. Since then, we have made further progress exploring the concept with our members. With renewed (bilateral) cooperation, we will consolidate our position in a paper, strengthening our advocacy approach. The efforts and perspectives offered by our members are crucial in establishing this position, both within and outside of the Health Equity Cluster.   

Thanks to our members, EPHA has been able to further shape this approach, for example on cancer inequities. FEANTSA has been engaged in the CANCERless project, an EU-funded project aiming to leave no one behind in the context of quality cancer screening and prevention services for people experiencing homelessness. With the preliminary results and CANCERless stakeholder meeting on 19 March, a great basis for future action has been created. This is underlined by the activities of the European Cancer Organisation’s Inequalities Network, with a meeting of the LGBTQI+ workstream and a workshop on inequities in cancer care. Taken together, the opportunity to reduce inequities through Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan looks extremely promising. 

In addition to these activities, we are actively trying to further connect the dots on the Social Determinants of Health including through this month’s guest articles. Our member IDF Europe writes about what health inequities mean in the context of diabetes. In addition, thanks to EPHA’s other clusters, we further our understanding through a reflection on the EU Climate Risk Assessment Report, an article on food environments and equity, and an overview on the risks of shrinking civic space in health. Finally, the International Longevity Centre sheds a light on ageing, longevity and health prevention. 

With those first activities taking shape, and with a number of thought-provoking articles, we have plenty to keep us on the road this year. While heading for the elections, building on our current priorities, we keep developing our message. With the start of the new mandate, we will be ready to take the next step to work towards a true Union of Equality, with health equity at its core.  

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