Health21 is a European policy framework derived from the Health for All policy for the twenty-first century adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1998.
Health21’s goal is to achieve full health potential for all people in the Region, with two main aims: to promote and protect people’s health throughout their lives; and to reduce the incidence of the main diseases and injuries and alleviate the suffering they cause. Three basic values form its ethical foundation: health as a fundamental human right, equity in health and solidarity in action and participation and accountability for continued health development.
The framework was called Health21 not only because it dealt with health in the 21st century but also because it laid out 21 targets for improving the health of Europeans.
These targets are:
- solidarity for health in the European Region, closing the health gap between countries;
- equity in health, or closing the health gap within countries;
- healthy start in life, for example, policies should create a supportive family, with wanted children and good parenthood capacity;
- health of young people, that is, young people in the Region should be healthier and better able to fulfil their roles in society;
- healthy ageing as reflected in increases in life expectancy, disability-free life expectancy, and the proportion of older people who are healthy and at home;
- improving mental health;
- reducing communicable diseases;
- reducing noncommunicable diseases;
- reducing injury from violence and accidents;
- a healthy and safe physical environment;
- healthier living, such as healthier behaviour in such fields as nutrition, physical activity and sexuality, and increase in the availability, affordability and accessibility of safe and healthy food;
- reducing harm from alcohol, drugs and tobacco;
- settings for health: specifically, people in the Region should have greater opportunities to live in healthy physical and social environments at home, at school, at the workplace and in the local community;
- multisectoral responsibility for health;
- an integrated health sector with better access to family- and community-oriented primary health care, supported by a flexible and responsive hospital system;
- managing for quality of care by focusing on outcomes;
- funding health services and allocating resources, calling for sustainable financing and resource allocation mechanisms for health care systems based on the principles of equal access, cost–effectiveness, solidarity and optimum quality;
- developing human resources for health to ensure that health professionals and others have acquired appropriate knowledge, attitudes and skills to protect and promote health;
- research and knowledge for health: health research, information and communication systems should better support the acquisition, effective utilization, and dissemination of knowledge;
- mobilizing partners for health, including governments, professionals, nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, and individual citizens; and
- policies and strategies for health for all at country, regional and local levels.