In the first-ever report of its kind, The Health Equity Status Report, authors share that in many of the 53 countries in the WHO European Region, the status of health equity has either gone unchanged, or worsened, despite government efforts to address avoidable disparities.
These challenges could be overcome “even within the lifetime of a national government of four years” said Dr. Zsuzanna Jakaba, WHO Europe’s Regional Director.
“For the first time, the Health Equity Status Report provides governments with the data and tools they need to tackle health inequities and produce visible results in a relatively short period of time,” she explained in a press statement.
Health equity, which the healthy agency defines as “the absence of unfair, avoidable differences among groups of people”, implies that ideally everyone should have an opportunity to attain their full health potential.
The Report also highlights new and emerging groups at risk of falling into health inequality, and breaks down drivers of health inequality into five factors:
- Income insecurity, accounting for 35 percent of the burden of inequity.
- Poor living conditions, contributing 29 percent.
- Around 19 percent can be attributed to social factors including feelings of isolation and resistance to ask for help.
- Access to good quality service, accounts for 10 per cent.
- And seven per cent is down to employment insecurity.
Dr. Jakaba said the Report explains how to achieve health equity and bring “positive change” to the European region.