Equity Action was a Joint Action between the EU and Member States. It aimed to reduce health inequalities by helping to improve policies at national and regional level and harness the contribution of stakeholders. It was jointly funded by the EU Health Programme, 15 EU Member States and Norway, and involved 25 partner organisations, 30 regions and numerous stakeholders.
More concretely, Equity Action aimed to help reducing health inequalities by:
- Developing knowledge for effective action on health inequalities;
- Supporting the engagement of Member States, regions and other stakeholders in action to tackle socio-economic and geographic health inequalities;
- Sharing learning between Member States and other actors;
- Supporting the development of effective action to tackle socio-economic health inequalities at the European policy level.
Contact: Dr Ray Earwicker
Health Inequalities Unit – Department of Health UK
Equity in HIA
Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) are practical tools which evaluate policies, strategies and initiatives outside the health sector (such as transportation, employment and environment) and the impact they have on health equity. The aim of HIAs is to build knowledge and evidence to inform decision-makers of the effects policies have on health equity and to provide them with support in the identification of appropriate policy options.
Useful documents can be downloaded here, under the ‘Useful Resources and Documents’ section.
Health Equity in All Policies
Health Equity in All Policies is a policy strategy which targets the key social determinants of health through integrated policy response across relevant policy areas with the ultimate goal of supporting health equity. The approach is closely related to concepts such as ‘inter-sectoral action for health’, ‘health public policy’ and ‘whole-of- government approach’.
Review Tool: Strengthening Health in All Policies within your organisation. This tool provides a format for project partners to have a structured discussion with key leaders and champions for Health Equity in All Policies approaches within their organisation and to highlight the role of equity in policies.
Summary report of learning experiences: The Review Tool was circulated among project partners, and feedback was collected on their experiences. This summary report describes the key outcomes and key points partners felt were important to implement Health Equity in All Policies within their organisations and the actions that partners have taken following the discussion of the tool.
HiAP: EU literature review 2006-2011 and interview with key stakeholders. This document highlights the key findings from the literature review and qualitative interview and identifies opportunities and barriers for the implementation of Health Equity in All Policies approaches in EU countries.
Health Inequalities Audit
A Health Inequalities Audit – in the context of Equity Action – can be described as a retrospective Health Impact Assessment; it is an assessment of a policy outside the health sector and the impact it had on health equity. It can be used to add value to existing work by facilitating the development of better, more equitable policy, highlighting the ways in which intended and unintended policy outcomes impact on the distribution of health within society.
Useful documents can be downloaded here, under the ‘Useful Resources’ section.
Contact: Ingrid Stegeman
Programme Manager – EuroHealthNet
The highlighted regions and local authorities were involved in the Equity Action Regional Network
The Equity Action Regional Network carried out a Case Study exercise to explore how health inequalities are addressed at the regional level and to provide good practice examples of how regions can move forward to improve health equity. The Case Studies are based on a framework which focuses on six different areas: Evaluation, Governance, Policy, Practice, Stakeholders and Tools.
To receive the case study reports by country, please contact Ingrid Stegeman
Sub-national bodies that were part of the Equity Action Regional Network conducted an EU Structural Funds Review to assess if and how the Funds were then being used to address health inequalities, and to identify opportunities within the 2014-2020 period for public health professionals and decision-makers to use the Funds for health equity.
To receive the structural funds reports and factsheets (2007-2013) by Country, please contact Ingrid Stegeman
Contact: Ellen Uiters (RIVM)
In order to identify existing knowledge gaps concerning the available evidence on the effectiveness of intersectoral action to reduce health inequalities literature reviews were executed on specific themes. One key product of this work strand was the translation of scientific evidence into practical information that is of practical use to policymakers (e.g. EU expert groups, national ministries). Based on the literature reviews, short factsheets were produced, summarising the main findings and implications.
Download the final fact sheets and complete literature reviews:
- Interventions with parents in the early years for improved health outcomes: A focus on behaviour and cognitive development/school readiness (factsheet) (literature review)
- Flexibility of the labour market and health inequalities (factsheet) (literature review)
- Do active labour market programmes aimed at unemployed young people take into account the negative effect of unemployment on the mental wellbeing of young people? (factsheet) (literature review)
- Housing and Social Mix (factsheet) (literature review)
- Labour market flexibility in Europe: Informal employment, employment policies and their impact on health equity (factsheet) (literature review)
- The effects of bankruptcy on the health of entrepreneurs in Europe during the economic crisis (factsheet) (literature review)
- The impact of problem debt on health (factsheet) (literature review)
The work around ‘Stakeholders’ was jointly coordinated by the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA), Germany, and the National Institute for Health Development (OEFI), Hungary. For further information, please contact:
A key activity of the Stakeholder work strand was to organise two EU-wide stakeholder debates, which allowed for an international exchange of experiences on stakeholder engagement, intersectoral work and health equity from the start.
First EU-wide stakeholder debate “Together for Health Equity from the Start”
The first EU-wide stakeholder debate, “Together for Health Equity from the Start”, which was held on 8−9 May 2012 in Budapest, Hungary, introduced the topics of health inequalities and health equity from the start, and discussed stakeholder engagement models. The debate allowed for an exchange of experiences and identified good practice examples in intersectoral action and stakeholder engagement.
Download the 1st Stakeholder Debate Documentation here.
Second EU-wide stakeholder debate “Together for Health Equity from the Start”
The second EU-wide stakeholder debate was held in Berlin, Germany, on 14−15 November 2012. Building upon the discussions during the first EU-wide stakeholder debate, the second debate aimed to improve ways to build alliances and work with stakeholders to tackle the social determinants of health and address health equity from the start. The second debate identified practical ways of cooperation with other sectors, entry points, barriers and possible solutions to overcome these. It derived concrete results and recommendations on actions to be taken to strengthen intersectoral collaboration for health equity from the start.
Download the 2nd Stakeholder Debate Documentation here.
Factsheets & Guide
Factsheets on intersectoral cooperation were developed for health equity from the start addressing stakeholders from sectors such as ‘education’, ‘built environment’ and ‘social welfare’. A guide on stakeholder engagement aims to provide assistance on how to proceed in engaging stakeholders from different sectors to achieve health equity from the start.
The Equity Action final conference took place on the 23rd of January 2014 in Brussels, Belgium. It brought together international experts on health inequalities, officials and policymakers from Member States and the EU and a range of key stakeholders.