The Health Promoting Health Systems report was prepared by the European Commission's Expert Panel on effective ways of investing in Health (EXPH) and adopted at its 18th plenary on 7 November 2019 after public hearing on 23 October 2019. Professor Margaret Barry, President of IUHPE, is a member of this Panel and was the rapporteur for this document. A Fact Sheet on the key recommendations can also be accessed here.
“Health promotion is an essential strategy for improving health equity and a key action underpinning the reform of health systems in Europe. Applying the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights and the competences of the EU treaties for the promotion of wellbeing and protection of health across all EU policies, we recommend that a range of policy measures and financial mechanisms at the European level are applied to support the implementation of transformative health promotion policies and practices in EU Member States. This shift in focus from disease to health can be considered ‘a disruptive innovation’ due to the need to transform existing organisational structures, workforce, and services.” (EXPH, 2019)
The Opinion makes a number of key recommendations for action on strengthening the capacity of EU countries to implement health promotion at a political, policy and service delivery level, recognising that the implementation of the SDGs in Europe present a major opportunity to bring a central focus on health promotion as a core element of delivering on sustainable development and universal health coverage.
IUHPE argues that reorienting health systems to focus more on health promotion, prevention and primary health care, as advocated in the Ottawa Charter, is the most effective and sustainable way to achieve national health goals and targets, and reduce the escalating burden of preventable diseases and mental ill-health on health care systems and treasuries. We are glad to see that the opinion of the EXPH builds on the arguments and the approach outlined in the IUHPE Position Statement, Beating NCDs equitably - Ten system requirements for health promotion and the primary prevention of NCDs (2018), and the work developed on the core competencies for health promotion, that are the basis of the IUHPE Health Promotion Accreditation System.
This report is part of an ongoing discussion that will continue in the upcoming months with further publications, including the accompanying fact sheet, presentations and other events. Visit IUHPE for further information.