Strengthening public health services and capacity: an action plan for Europe




Societies and countries change over time, causing the public health issues to alter across different populations. The challenge for public health is to ensure that services adapt and respond to these changes and reflect the current and future public health threats and risks. Across the WHO European Region the main challenges facing public health – which are exacerbated by the economic crisis – include inequalities, globalization, ageing, migration and urbanization, environmental break-down and climate change. These factors all result in changes to living environments, lifestyles and disease patterns. Across the Region 86% of deaths are caused by chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, mental disorders and diabetes. At the same time there are ongoing risks from emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and health emergencies.

The European Action Plan (EAP) for Strengthening Public Health Services and Capacity and Resolution for the sixty-second session of the WHO Regional Committee form a key pillar of the overarching regional policy framework, Health 2020. They present ten essential public health operations (EPHOs) that countries can adapt and work on together, with WHO technical leadership and support, to assess and plan for stronger public health services and capacity.