Wales has committed to participating in the Joint Action on Health Equity Europe (JAHEE) Programme at a meeting in Luxemburg.

JAHEE, a 3 year programme with a €3.125 million budget, coordinated by the Instituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome (Italy), represents an opportunity for participating countries to jointly address health inequalities and the underlying social determinants of health across Europe.

The launch was attended by 49 public health experts from 25 EU (European Union) countries along with invited experts from Norway, Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina.

The primary objective of the project is to improve the health and well-being of European citizens and achieve greater equity in health outcomes across all countries and groups across society by examining the socio-economic determinates of health and lifestyle related health inequalities. The project will also focus its efforts on migrants as poor health and a lack of access to health services are often a barrier to greater integration.

Wales, the only UK (United Kingdom) nation to participate, was represented by a joint team of Public Health Wales’ Cathy Weatherup and Gill Richardson from the Policy, Research and International Development Division and Welsh Government’s Rhodri Wyn Jones. As the only UK representatives, the team will disseminate any messages and products from the Joint Action to the other UK countries using existing networks.

Both colleagues will support the general programme and country assessments, and Gill will be working with colleagues from across Europe, led by Norway, to examine ways of reducing the inequalities in the health of international migrants.

Meanwhile, Cathy will be working with a group, led by Finnish colleagues, to focus on governance and systems related to health policy to ensure that health and equity are considered in all policies across the local, regional, national and European levels. Wales is leading the way in this field through the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, it is expected that we will influence and shape the emerging work using our existing experience as a guide.

The Joint Action links to work at World Health Organization (WHO) Europe which monitors and tracks health inequalities across the region. Gill will be supporting WHO Venice Centre Director, Chris Brown at next week’s WHO Europe committee meeting in Rome where WHO Venice will launch a Health Equity Status Reporting Tool (HESRi).

The Action will use a variety of data sources to help identify and tackle health inequalities throughout Europe including the World Health Organization (WHO) European Health Report released on 12 September 2018.

For further information, please visit the European Commission website.