Using Indonesia as an example, the World Health Organization (WHO) showcases a range of tools for gathering data needed about the health state of all population subgroups including the most disadvantaged.
In Indonesia in 2012, immunization programs had eliminated tetanus in three of the sprawling archipelago’s four regions, but lower vaccination rates in the poorest West Papua region meant that the disease remained a major threat there.
One of the key products in the package is the Health Equity Assessment Toolkit (HEAT), a software application which was launched by WHO last year. It enables countries to analyse, interpret and report data on health inequalities in order to shed light on where investments are needed to expand services to those who don’t have them and to improve their health.
Find out more about the the Health Equity Assessment Toolkit on the who.int website.
Cross-country variation in health expenditure may be the result of differences in the prices of goods and services or differences in the volume of care, or a mix of both. Separating health spending into volume and price measures helps policy makers better understand the drivers of cross-country variations, and helps them decide what policy responses should be put in place to address health spending trends. Such policies may differ if, for example, a country’s high health care spending is due to relatively high volume of goods and services consumed or to the relatively high price a country pays for those goods or services.
The OECD have recently published new findings on these international comparisons.
To download the document on International comparisons of health prices and volumes from the oecd.org website
The Swedish government has introduced a new national mental health strategy for 2016-2020. It is based on five focus areas identified as the most important to strengthen mental health and prevent mental illness:
- Prevention and promotion efforts
- Accessible early interventions
- Focus on vulnerable groups
- Participation and rights
- Organization and leadership
Each focus area includes people of all ages – children, young people, adults, and the elderly. Just as the focus areas were developed in collaboration between many different stakeholders, the government emphasises that all development work in the field must be conducted simultaneously and collaboratively. The Public Health Agency of Sweden plays a leading role in this effort.
For more information about Sweden’s National Mental Health Strategy on the eurohealthnet-magazine.eu website
This independent report, commissioned by WHO and written by Sir Liam Donaldson, reflects on the trends, achievements and challenges in global health over the past decade. It discusses the role of WHO in dealing with such issues as the rise of noncommunicable diseases, leaps in life expectancy, and emerging threats like climate change and antimicrobial resistance.
The sections include:
- Saving mothers and children
- Microbes: old and new
- The ascendancy of noncommunicable diseases
- Healthy ageing
To download the full report ‘Healthier, fairer, safer: the global health journey 2007–2017′ from the who.int website
There have been no HIV or Hepatitis infections from blood transfusions in the last 10 years in Italy.
More than three million transfusions of blood components were made in 2015, with 1709 positive cases of HIV or Hepatitis detected in 1691 donors, who were therefore disqualified from giving blood. This screening system ensures the safety of receiving blood and its components.
To read more (in Italian) about safe blood transfusions on the salute.gov.it website
In 1972, Finland had the highest rate of coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality in the world, and the region of North Karelia in eastern Finland had the highest rate in the country. To address this issue, the region initiated what is known as the North Karelia Project, a far-reaching, community-based intervention that aims to reduce CHD mortality by encouraging healthier habits and cutting down on risk factors such as high cholesterol intake and smoking.
The project is still active today and has produced remarkable results. During the 40-year period from 1972 to 2012, CHD mortality in North Karelia decreased by 82% among working-age men and 84% among women.
To read more about Finland’s method of reducing noncommunicable diseases from the euro.who.int website
Some 50 million Europeans live with multi-morbidity and their numbers are likely to grow. As they have complex health problems and need ongoing care, policymakers are alarmed by the challenge this poses to their health systems and social services.
The ICARE4EU project has looked at new approaches to integrated care and its findings are shared in five policy briefs:
- How to improve care for people with multi-morbidity?
- How to strengthen patient-centredness in caring for people with multi-morbidity
- How to strengthen financing mechanisms to promote care for people with multi-morbidity
- How can eHealth improve care for people with multi-morbidity
- How to support integration to promote care for people with multi-morbidity
To read more about the project and download the five policy briefs on caring for people with multi-morbidity from the euro.who.int website
Over 500 measles cases were reported for January 2017 in Europe with 85% of them coming from 7 of the 14 endemic countries (France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Switzerland and Ukraine). Measles continues to spread within and among European countries, with the potential to cause large outbreaks wherever immunization coverage has dropped below the necessary threshold of 95%.
As the WHO Regional Director for Europe pointed out: “Today’s travel patterns put no person or country beyond the reach of the measles virus. Outbreaks will continue in Europe, as elsewhere, until every country reaches the level of immunization needed to fully protect their populations.”
Preliminary information for February indicates that the number of new infections is sharply rising. In all of the countries listed above, estimated national immunization coverage with the second dose of measles-containing vaccine is less than the 95% threshold.
For more information about measles in Europe from the euro.who.int website
The European Solidarity Corps offers young Europeans from 18 to 30 years old the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives. Aiming for 100,000 placements by 2020, NGOs, Member State authorities and other organisations can offer quality placements for volunteering, traineeships or jobs.
Health is an integral part of this initiative. There are many ways young people could play a part in health projects, making use of their skills be it language, communication, IT or medical skills. If you have ideas and projects which you think could provide young people from the Solidarity Corps with opportunities to learn and demonstrate solidarity, the Corps would like to hear from you.
For more information on the European Solidarity Corps on the ec.europa.eu website