In December 2021, World Health Organisation European Region (WHO/Europe) released its first issue of the Equity & Health Newsletter. The newsletter covers best national practices, partnerships & alliances, events & publications in the areas of equitable investment in health and health systems, addressing health determinants, gender equality and inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, notes that we need strong health leadership to ensure health for all and strengthen economic and social growth. According to Dr Kluge leaving no one behind is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and building a better future.
The Equity & Health Newsletter also draws attention to IDF Europe’s report Living in COVID Times: Experiences from People Living with Diabetes. For people at risk of developing diabetes and living with diabetes, COVID-19 led to late diagnosis, disrupted access to routine care and to specialist care, shortages or fear of shortages of diabetes medicines, supplies and devices but also increased vulnerability of those with limited financial resources and/or living in countries where diabetes-related costs are not fully covered.
The renewed attention on the social determinants of health in relation to diabetes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the sheer complexity of tackling health inequalities and the inadequacy of existing metrics, frameworks and approaches. The incorporation of a social-determinants framework will require both a conceptual shift in the collective approach to the prevention and management of diabetes, beyond pathophysiology and pharmacotherapy, and simultaneous investment in upstream factors as an integral aspect of the diabetes field, as emphasised during the IDF Europe webinar titled ‘Leveraging Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic’.
The European Commission’s new NCD Initiative – Healthier Together is a step in the right direction towards building equity-proof policies in healthcare and beyond. The diabetes community is delighted that the initiative will target individual NCDs such as diabetes by applying a horizontal approach to health determinants to reduce the incidence of diabetes, ensure equitable access to care and improve health outcomes. This transversal priority is of utmost importance if we want to tackle in a systemic and structured way widespread inequalities in access to care, resulting from socio-economic and environmental determinants of health such as poverty, climate change and the food industry.
To download WHO/Europe’s Healthy & Equity newsletter, click here.