Report shows progress towards Health 2020 targets

Report shows progress towards Health 2020 targets

A new report shows an overall improvement in the implementation of Health 2020 values and principles in the countries of the WHO European Region. Between 2010 and 2016, the share of responding countries that had policies addressing inequalities increased from 88% to 98%. Those that aligned national policies with Health 2020 also increased during this period, from 58% to 92%.

Of the 53 countries in the Region, 43 reported progress for 2016 as follows:

  • 98% of the responding countries reported having a policy in place to tackle the key priorities of Health 2020 for addressing health inequities and their social determinants and for improving health and well-being. This is an increase of 10 percentage points since 2010.
  • 88% of countries reported that they had defined targets or indicators for Health 2020, which is 15 percentage points higher than in 2010.
  • 93% of countries indicated that they had a national health policy aligned with Health 2020, which is 35 percentage points more than in 2010.

In addition to having aligned policies, increased shares of countries reported having implementation plans (86%) and accountability mechanisms (89%) in place. Both have increased since 2010, at 40 percentage points and 44 percentage points, respectively.

The data and analysis are of particular importance as Member States prepare to meet for the 67th Regional Committee for Europe, where one of the agenda items is focused on a “Roadmap to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, building on the Health 2020 policy framework”.


Health 2020’s impact on health in the Region

Altogether, the results suggest that Health 2020 implementation has increasingly been incorporated into national policies to improve health and well-being, which is generating new action in countries. By the midpoint of the Health 2020 implementation period, countries have already transformed national health policies, with 40 countries reporting having adopted Health 2020 principles and approaches, 37 of which had already implemented them or are in the process of doing so.

Countries also report that they have implemented Health 2020 and its values by employing an increased number and diversity of approaches in their policy development. For example, more than 75% have used participatory and whole-of-government approaches in policy development, addressed major national health challenges, and taken up policies to invest in health throughout the life-course, reduce health inequities and social determinants of health, and provide universal health coverage and patient-centred health care.


Measuring progress

Member States of the Region are now in the second half of the implementation period for Health 2020. Countries agreed to measure progress towards the targets of Health 2020 during the implementation period 2010–2020 by regularly reporting on a set of indicators.
The report “On the road to Health 2020 policy targets: Monitoring qualitative indicators” provides updated analysis of the indicators for monitoring Health 2020 implementation. The set of targets includes qualitative policy indicators that not only track progress towards the implementation of Health 2020 but also act as a measure of accountability for WHO and policy-makers alike.

The data is also published in the Health 2020 data set, available via the European Health Information Gateway, and the European Health Statistics mobile application. The Health 2020 country profiles in the Gateway offer a further overview of progress on Health 2020 targets by country.


A head start on the 2030 Agenda

The report clearly shows that countries in the Region have embraced Health 2020’s values and principles, including:

  • adopting approaches to health policy-making that involve all parts of government and society;
  • catalysing intersectoral action for health and well-being;
  • supporting the development of resilient communities and promoting individual healthy lives across all ages.

In doing so, European Member States have already put in place principles and systems that reflect the cross-cutting nature of health and well-being in the aspirations of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

By adopting the Health 2020 policy framework in 2012, the Region helped ensure that it was well prepared and had a head start in tackling the breadth and complexities of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As the Region embarks on efforts to achieve the vision of the 2030 Agenda, while simultaneously facing challenges such as large-scale migration and global emergencies, even greater effort will be made to apply the values and principles of Health 2020 in policy-making for health and well-being.

The Health 2020 monitoring framework and its targets and indicators have significantly pre-empted the measurement of progress related to the health-focused SDG 3. For instance, 76% of Health 2020 indicators are fully aligned with the indicators for SDG 3. This means that in being held accountable to Health 2020 commitments, countries are to a great extent already reporting on the progress towards achieving SDG 3. This is beneficial, since it presents a practical possibility to monitor progress on SDG 3 without additional data collection from countries.
At the same time, the ongoing implementation of Health 2020 will ensure that health and well-being continue to be systematically improved through the comprehensive lens of the Health 2020 policy framework.