Better and more inclusive health will ensure Europe’s sustainable future
Brussels, 5 April 2018
World Health Day 2018
In 2018 in Europe, health inequalities are rising and more and more people have to make a choice between health care and other basic needs. This situation creates a social and economic threat which EU countries cannot afford! With the ageing of the population and the rise in chronic diseases, investing in health is critically needed. Only a healthy society can deliver sustainable growth and prosperity for all.
In line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 3, with its slogan “Health for All”, the 2018 World Health Day is calling for worldwide universal access to health, which means access ‘for all’, without discrimination, leaving no one behind. Everyone everywhere has the right to benefit from the health services they need without falling into poverty. Unfortunately, even in Europe this is not yet a reality. Many people experience increasing barriers to access affordable and quality health care.
Recent OECD data show that while most OECD countries have achieved universal or near-universal health coverage, access to care should be improved. People in OECD countries are living longer, but the burden of mental illness and chronic disease is rising, making demands for long-term care rise faster than demand for any other type of health care.
For that reason AGE has joined EPHA campaign calling for the EU to ‘do more for health’ in the framework of the current debate on the future of the European Union.
‘Promoting active and healthy ageing is being increasingly recognized in EU policy debates as an adequate response to address population ageing in Europe. For that we need more and better investment in health, in particular in health prevention across the life cycle and in access to quality and affordable long-term care’, stresses Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary-General of AGE Platform Europe.
Ageism is a key barrier that hinders older persons’ access to healthcare. In our societies, many policies and practices reflect ageist prejudices and de-prioritise, disregard or even exclude people as they age. This has significant consequences on older people’s health as showcased during our joint event in November 2017 in support of WHO’s global campaign against ageism.