Health 2020 becoming reality

Copenhagen and Çeşme Izmir, 17 September 2013

Many Member States are now taking up the Health 2020 challenge, reflecting a clear and growing interest in implementing the Health 2020 policy framework in the WHO European Region. At the sixty-third session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, some 300 assembled ministers and stakeholders renewed their commitment to Health 2020. In addition to this, a high-level panel of ministers and delegates shared their plans and experience of implementing the Health 2020 vision within their own countries.

A year has passed since the Health 2020 policy framework was adopted by the Regional Committee and an impressive volume of activity has taken place since then. Countries across the European Region have mobilized for Health 2020 – some are developing a Health-2020-inspired national health policy, while others focus on developing and implementing specific health strategies and plans (such as on noncommunicable diseases) drawing on the core principles of Health 2020 and its evidence-based policy advice. Strengthening cross-government and multidisciplinary actions for health and health systems, from the perspective of Health 2020, is a priority for many countries.

The WHO Regional Office for Europe is also at the ready. “We have made sure Health 2020 is a priority that cuts across everything we do,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “We have conducted a thorough review of our operations and resources to be sure of giving Member States the best support we can possibly provide as they move ahead with implementation.”

Unprecedented support

“The support for this policy is unprecedented and takes our concern for health, as a Region, into new domains,” she continued. “Health 2020 doesn’t only concern the health sector; it looks at health policies across the board and reaches out to the whole of government and all sectors. It focuses on health throughout the life-course, addressing inequalities and strengthening capacity in public health. Health 2020 is also being adopted by regions and cities, as well as states, which is a reflection of its tremendous appeal and relevance. Together we really can improve health across Europe, and we can help the poor and vulnerable so that they are not left behind.”

Health 2020 targets the Region’s main health challenges today such as the growing burden of ill health from noncommunicable diseases including obesity, cancer and heart disease; increasing health inequalities and shrinking public service expenditure due to the financial crisis. Its evidence base and the new studies that were commissioned during the development of Health 2020 give excellent insights into the policies and strategies required.

Further information is available on the WHO Regional Office web site.

For further information, contact:

Ina Parvanova
Regional Advisor, Communications
WHO Regional Office for Europe
UN City, Marmorvej 51
2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
Tel.: +45 45 33 68 05