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Closing the Health Gap: Strategies for Action to tackle health inequalities in Europe

This project focused on providing strategies to reduce inequalities in health that could be operational at three levels: the European Union, national and local. The project ran from 1 June 2004 to 31 May 2007.

In the course of the project, policy processes initiated by the European institutions and related agencies that can have an impact on the reduction (or widening) of health inequalities were identified. The project aim was to generate awareness of how these policies influence and can improve health.

It is appreciated that the health gap exists not only within countries but also between European member states. Therefore, the project approached partners to work closely together in order to design Strategies for Action for clusters of countries that are similar and have comparable situations and contexts with regard to tackling health inequalities. The exercise was conducted within the framework of an agreed definition of health inequalities.

Moreover, best practice was gathered to illustrate policy measures and interventions at the local level that are effective and transferable across European countries. This culminated in the production of the document Promoting Social Inclusion & Tackling Health Inequalities in Europe: Overview of Good Practices

You can find recent examples of interventions and policies designed to reduce health inequalities in the countries of the European Union at the Health Inequalities Portal.

The project was funded under the European Union Public Health Programme and there are 22 national public health and health promotion agencies who participated (the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Wales).<

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As part of our commitment to the project, the Wales Centre for Health hosted a conference in Cardiff on 27 February 2007. The conference aimed to raise awareness of tackling health inequalities in Wales by exploring different European approaches to tackling health inequalities; discussing the draft Welsh strategy for action; and influencing the public health strategy. Copies of the presentations and conference pack can be found on our Presentations and Conference Packs page.<
A Welsh Strategy for Action was produced at the end of the project.<
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The project produced a final document entitled ‘Taking Action on Health Equity’, which was launched at a final conference aimed at EU decision makers in May 2007 in Brussels. The Head of Partnerships and Communications presented information about the Welsh situation through participation in a European member panel.<
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http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sites3/page.cfm?orgid=568&pid=12726<
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