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  • Publication of a qualitative synthesis review: A building block for effective advocacy for health equity, by Linden Farrer | EuroHealthNet
    to be conclusive in the making of decisions policy Timely qualitative interdisciplinary and mixed methods research may be particularly valuable in advocacy efforts The potential impact of evidence can be increased by packaging it using methods of knowledge transfer and translation Increased contact between researchers and policy makers could improve the uptake of research in policy processes Researchers can play a role in advocacy efforts though health professionals and disadvantaged people who have direct contact with or experience of hardship can be particularly persuasive in advocacy efforts Different types of advocacy messages can accompany evidence but messages should be tailored to the target group Advocates need to take advantage of windows of opportunity which open and close quickly and demonstrate expertise and credibility For this reason dedicated advocacy organisations that have the resources and experience required to advocate could play a leading role in advocacy efforts bridging the worlds of science practice and policy One surprise finding was the emphasis on barriers that hamper advocacy efforts in the academic literature The most frequently cited was the current political and economic zeitgeist variously termed market fundamentalism market justice neo classical economics and neoliberalism and related public opinion which tends to blame disadvantaged people for their ill health Other barriers identified included biomedical approaches to health market led reforms of higher education academic difficulties or reluctance to advocate and political short termism Several papers suggested means of overcoming these barriers including long term actions to raise public awareness and understanding of the SDH training health professionals in advocacy or human rights and bringing students concerned with the determinants of health into closer contact with those experiencing hardship as part of their studies The review provided a useful building block for later research on advocacy within DRIVERS five case studies on advocacy and

    Original URL path: http://eurohealthnet.eu/media/publication-qualitative-synthesis-review-building-block-effective-advocacy-health-equity (2015-11-08)
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  • Has Cinderella come to the ball in Slovenia? The Active & Healthy Ageing Project (AHA-SI) | EuroHealthNet
    scale of the work covering employability retirement and pre retirement activities falls prevention assisted independent living long term care demographic transitions use of ICT and of course equitable health promotion including healthy nutrition There were more participants and more participation than ever before While much discussion focussed naturally on specific needs in Slovenia there was substantial comparison and reference to neighbouring states such as Austria plus wider learning from Nordic countries the Netherlands and elsewhere Experts from health social and economic Institutes within Slovenia and across Europe contributed evidence I moderated a session which included senior representatives from two European Commission directorates and two national ministries Ministers and heads of Institutes were keen to demonstrate their commitment to achieving results EuroHealthNet was involved in the genesis of this work stemming from meetings in Brussels including in our office between ministry officials and our excellent national member Dr Mojca Gabrijelcic from the National Institute of Public Health NIJZ As part of our work within the EU Employment and Social Innovation programme EaSI we analyse national social developments within the EU Semester process and try to help health bodies engage constructively using approaches for social investments This project shows what can be done With Mojca s inspirational national guidance and great national team we helped to facilitate EU co funding for a two year process We helped identify priorities with several national ministries and stakeholders Expert colleagues in our Brussels office are formally engaged as evaluators which is vital for wider learning about outcomes and effectiveness As our Health Promotion Europe Manager Ingrid Stegeman commented AHA SI is an inspiring example how to break through silos change attitudes and develop comprehensive approaches for more inclusive and sustainable societies Concrete and wide ranging recommendations for national government will be brought forward in a

    Original URL path: http://eurohealthnet.eu/media/has-cinderella-come-ball-slovenia-active-healthy-ageing-project-aha-si (2015-11-08)
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  • Gender equality in health, a realistic aim?, By Nitya Sarma | EuroHealthNet
    on the European Commission to ratify the Istanbul convention 3 This was done by proposing new laws to protect women from different forms of violence and to encourage programmes to exit from prostitution balancing family and working life in terms of increasing female employment rates maternity paternity and parental leave and affordable child care services Laws such as placing a quota for women to ensure there are more women in top positions and improving accessibility to services in terms of health and education were proposed 4 Indirectly the introduction of these proposed laws would improve health equality for women in the EU After the implementation of these laws more women might be fortunate enough to work at top level positions With the gender pay gap closing and women being valued just as men are in the workforce these changes will allow them a better pay and therefore an increased ability to take care of their health needs There will be a reduced occurrence of women being subject to violence meaning less women will be physically and mentally affected improving the overall health of women 5 Despite these very necessary changes that women are entitled to a few problems still remain The treatment of pregnant women is generally unfair they are often discriminated against Pregnant women have been known to have experienced the denial of training opportunities and changes in their job descriptions 6 With the increase in the average age of the European population to 65 several female employees may find it necessary to take work leave as a result of society s belief that it is women who should be taking care of their elderly family members These social injustices may lead to stress and poorer health for pregnant women and women taking care of their elderly family members

    Original URL path: http://eurohealthnet.eu/media/gender-equality-health-realistic-aim-nitya-sarma (2015-11-08)
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  • College of Commissioners Orientation Debate on Social Policy: An opportunity to address the social determinants of health and ensure a prosperous EU | EuroHealthNet
    of being marginalised One way of doing this is to increase minimum income benefits 7 Another is to ensure that meaningful active labour market policies ALMPs are put in place to support people back into the labour market 8 Case studies carried out as part of DRIVERS suggested additional features of social protection that require attention These included 1 Enabling people to access and obtain their rights and entitlements 2 Providing integrated support to help individuals with complex needs and 3 Providing front line staff with the means necessary to treat their clients appropriately 9 Take the social gradient into account People with different backgrounds have different needs Social protection systems therefore need to be designed so that they are appropriate accessible and effective for all Universal programmes are more likely to be high quality and accessible to all But universal systems also tend to be used to potential by people from higher up the social gradient who have the social networks knowledge time or even financial resources required to request fight for and obtain the social protection rights they are entitled to 10 Moreover conditionalities in social protection systems which easily run contrary to the principle of universality are more likely to be imposed on those from lower down the social gradient 11 exacerbating already difficult conditions and reducing the effectiveness of social protection systems For this reason universal protection needs to be supplemented by targeted programmes and interventions that respond to disadvantage these should designed to help people facing specific and multiple adversities and who may have particular needs and barriers vis à vis accessing social support and labour markets Social protection should therefore be designed to respect the rights of the people concerned and adapted to context This means that interventions or good practices that may be applicable in one context may not be suitable in another and point to a weakness in European level approaches that primarily aim to transfer identified good practices from one context to another Comparative qualitative and quantitative research can therefore play a self evident role in supporting EU level policy making based on evidence A multidimensional and multidisciplinary approach Social protection is a good example of the multidimensionality of policy making It shows how labour market health system taxation and other policies fit together and lead to outcomes across different dimensions The approach to modernising social protection should take a similarly multidimensional and multidisciplinary approach EuroHealthNet works across sectors to try and find solutions to improving health equity and well being and to support the goals of Europe 2020 EuroHealthNet is engaged with the debate about the future of EU social policy and encourages policy makers to apply DRIVERS four principles to future initiatives in the field of EU social policy to reduce health inequalities These principles should be applied to policies and practices across the life course from early childhood through working life and into retirement 1 See here 2 Ferrarini T Sjöberg O Social policy and health transition countries

    Original URL path: http://eurohealthnet.eu/media/college-commissioners-orientation-debate-social-policy-opportunity-address-social-determinants (2015-11-08)
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  • Videos: Aspects of the living and working conditions of different communities in Glasgow, by Linden Farrer | EuroHealthNet
    lead to inward investment and empower local people to play a part in creating and preserving communities Young Mums was a moving account of the views of three teenage mums These mums brought together by a scheme that allows them to continue in education while looking after their babies gave them the opportunity to explain their aspirations explore their newfound role as mothers and describe how they are viewed by society and how they view others It was a reminder that by focusing on any group such as teenage mums in this particular case we ignore the fact that each and every person is an individual with skills hopes and aspirations Bolting Doors Mending Fences focused on a resident of Renfrew with a strong personality who refurbished his house and garden with the help of local children His account of repeated attempts to bring festive Christmas cheer to the local neighbourhood was funny but depressingly illustrated just how culturally and socially deprived certain communities can be Finally Miniature Cities Glasgow Gothenburg compared these two northern European cities on a range of themes health lifestyle culture and the environment While there were quite large and expected divergences on some lifestyle factors both cities had surprisingly similar differences in male life expectancy between the least and most deprived neighbourhoods nine years in Gothenburg and ten years in Glasgow and both have the same incidence of poor mental health 20 per cent of their populations Overall the films emphasised the important role played by community solidarity and individual agency the potential capacity of each individual to act and take action in preserving health They were a chance to hear directly from people experiencing adverse living conditions in their daily lives and their attempts to improve them and the fact that these issues are

    Original URL path: http://eurohealthnet.eu/media/videos-aspects-living-and-working-conditions-different-communities-glasgow-linden-farrer (2015-11-08)
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  • Reducing child poverty and improving health through multi-sectoral policy making, by Linden Farrer | EuroHealthNet
    seem to be those that augment parental capacities improve housing conditions provide day care speech and psychological therapies for children and improve parents skills and knowledge 6 In terms of work employment DRIVERS reiterated that lower occupational groups are at higher risk of work related ill health than higher occupational groups This means that parents experiencing poverty are more likely to have jobs that are stressful and pay less than those who live in relative affluence Forget the preconception that the bank manager suffers the most stress it is lower occupational groups who suffer the highest levels of physical and psychosocial stress in their working lives The solutions to improving quality of work particularly for lower occupational groups which need it the most are similarly multi faceted prioritising labour market and occupational health and safety regulations making available appropriate occupational health and safety services fair wages monitoring adversities at work encouraging workers employers trade unions and other stakeholders to work together to improve working conditions and implementing active labour market programmes to integrate vulnerable groups back into the labour market 7 8 Social protection cuts across the life course providing services and a financial safety net when it is needed most often during periods of life transition such as after the birth of a child or when someone becomes unemployed Social protection therefore needs to protect against different kinds of risks and particular attention should be paid to those at risk of being marginalised Unsurprisingly higher levels of social spending are generally linked to better health and smaller inequalities but DRIVERS went further and showed that coverage is crucial 90 or more of the workforce needs to be covered by unemployment insurance for the health benefits to become apparent at the moment many countries fail to ensure this level of coverage Finally enabling people to access and obtain the social protection they are entitled to providing integrated support to families with complex needs and making sure that front line staff have the means necessary to treat their clients appropriately could meet the needs of people experiencing poverty better and improve the uptake of social protection and the experience of those accessing it 9 Zuber s report is scheduled to be voted on by members of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee on 15 July 2015 Hopefully her colleagues will agree that the existence and increase of child poverty in the European Union is indeed shameful and that policy makers need to respond to it with multi dimensional and cross sectoral policies covering social protection health services employment laws and housing policies As she notes the negative policy measures taken today will have irreversible negative impacts on the lives of these people and on society and the need for action is therefore acute Even though the report is non binding a strong stance could influence the European Parliament s response to other dossiers and press home to member states and the European Commission that much more needs to be done to

    Original URL path: http://eurohealthnet.eu/media/reducing-child-poverty-and-improving-health-through-multi-sectoral-policy-making-linden-farrer (2015-11-08)
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  • Focus needed to address European employment disparities amid some progress, by Leonardo Palumbo | EuroHealthNet
    up by 0 6 pp for young people aged 15 24 and noticeably by 1 2 pp for 20 24 year olds For those aged 25 54 it increased by 0 7 pp and more significantly for older workers aged 55 64 by 1 7 pp There is a noticeable gender gap which remains significant at more than 10 pp 76 versus 64 Youth unemployment in the EU fell by 1 8 pp in the year to February 2015 to reach 21 1 but the number remains below par for the next generation Evidence shows there will be long term physical and psycho social health consequences to having more than one fifth of young people unemployed at a formative transitional stage of life The fact that more permanent contracts represent an additional 1 3 million full time workers is a positive development But the survey does not clarify socio economic status or if positive developments in employment include people from most vulnerable groups From a health equity perspective a stronger focus on quality employment would be important However the survey does measure underemployment Unfortunately that measure has not changed since the height of the financial crisis and remains at 4 0 of the labour force These trends suggest that more targeted approaches are needed to tackle the remaining employment gaps between Member States age groups and genders Data on the employment status across the gradient is needed to see if all social groups are experiencing benefits from an increase in employment EuroHealthNet will also bring the evidence from the DRIVERs research project on employment protection into the policy debate The European Commission is preparing a proposal for a ministerial Council Recommendation on integration of the long term unemployed This is important for cross sectoral work on determinants of health by

    Original URL path: http://eurohealthnet.eu/media/focus-needed-address-european-employment-disparities-amid-some-progress-leonardo-palumbo (2015-11-08)
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  • Role of physicians and national medical associations in addressing the social determinants of health & increasing health equity, by Clive Needle | EuroHealthNet
    Association to build global learning and change Professor Marmot as ever set an inspiring tone in his keynote presentation balancing his excitement at developments in places such as Colombia Bangladesh and Peru with sharp doses of reality at the scale of the social and health gradients persisting and widening in the context of social economic and environmental crises He was followed by a succession of country or association exemplars with strong European inputs from France Finland Hungary Portugal Denmark Sweden and UK All gave cause for hope but no one suggested solutions were easy or swift and realities such as the difficulties of organising a meeting in sub Saharan Africa put challenges in context But discussion sessions showed common purposes and determination to build on the work of these champions to build systematic change in a generation as called for by the global Commission on SDH These ranged from the use of new online tools published by WHO here to changing education and training models for medical students to developing a global network of physicians within the ambit of the WMA or linking with sustainable development goals and agendas in health systems a subject close to the heart and plans of EuroHealthNet and WHO Europe Sensitive strategic questions arose such as whether physicians need to move from advocacy to activism how working across professional boundaries for example with social care can be achieved how changes in communications and access to patient data can be ethically harnessed how universality remains key while focussing on particularly vulnerable individuals and populations EuroHealthNet is proud to be associated with the work of Professor Marmot and colleagues at IHE via studies such as DRIVERS and other research or policy and advocacy work in Europe We are seeking to contribute by building more cross sectoral partnerships

    Original URL path: http://eurohealthnet.eu/media/role-physicians-and-national-medical-associations-addressing-social-determinants-health (2015-11-08)
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