Tackling the Health Divide in Europe: The Role of the World Health Organization
Durham University.Journal of Health Politics Policy and Law (Impact Factor: 1.37). 06/2012; 37(5):867-78. DOI: 10.1215/03616878-1672754
Europe faces major health challenges in addition to its well-reported economic and financial difficulties. Despite the overall improvement in population health, significant inequalities remain, with a growing gap between rich and poor. WHO Europe, covering fifty-three member states, is committed to helping European governments meet the complex challenge posed by the "silent epidemic" of noncommunicable diseases. In September 2012 WHO launched Health 2020, an ambitious new health policy framework and strategy. Its success requires a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to improving health and well-being, informed by the latest evidence on cost-effective interventions. This review considers the prospects for success.
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ABSTRACT: Health systems have entered a third era embracing whole systems thinking and posing complex policy and management challenges. Understanding how such systems work and agreeing what needs to be put in place to enable them to undergo effective and sustainable change are more pressing issues than ever for policy-makers. The theory-policy-practice-gap and its four dimensions, as articulated by Chinitz and Rodwin, is acknowledged. It is suggested that insights derived from political science can both enrich our understanding of the gap and suggest what changes are needed to tackle the complex challenges facing health systems.
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