State of "Health 2020"

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How Member States measure up

WHO’s health policy for Europe, Health 2020, aims to improve health and well-being, reduce health inequities and ensure universal health coverage. This visualization gives an overview of how Member States are doing, ranked against the policy’s targets and indicators. Full dataset is available on the WHO European Health Information Gateway.

Target 1. Reduce premature mortality rate in Europe

The description of progress towards this target is based on three areas – premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), vaccine-preventable diseases and external causes.

The WHO European Region is on track to reduce premature mortality from NCDs, but not to reach the global NCD targets, despite steadily declining tobacco use. Mortality from injuries has declined significantly in recent years; it is shown here as death from external causes, one of the leading causes of premature mortality. A large percentage of premature mortality can be attributed to unhealthy behavior. Europe has the highest levels of alcohol consumption in the world, and alarming and rising rates of overweight and obesity. Vaccination rates indicate the extent of health-system coverage and can identify areas of weak performance. Overall, vaccination coverage is improving, but sustained measles outbreaks continue and the threat of poliomyelitis (polio) importation requires vigilance.

There are many positive trends in health, but significant inequalities between countries persist.

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Target 2. Increase life expectancy in Europe

Life expectancy in Europe has risen steadily for some years. Nevertheless, there is a gap of more than a decade between the countries where people have the longest and the shortest lives.

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Target 3. Reduce inequities in Europe

Health inequities are avoidable, unnecessary differences in health status between population groups, countries and regions. They are usually strongly related to social determinants.

The indicators used to assess inequalities are infant mortality, life expectancy at birth and unemployment. In general, although inequalities have declined since 2010, they remain considerable.The gap between the highest and lowest rates of infant mortality has shrunk, but still amounts to 22 deaths in every 1000 babies. The proportions of children not enrolled in primary school vary widely, and the decrease in differences in unemployment rates has recently slowed.

By 2013, 31 countries had policies to tackle inequities.

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Target 4. Enhance the well-being of the European population

The indicators associated with this target focus on subjective and objective well-being. Unemployment and improved sanitation are core objective indicators of well-being for Health 2020. Many rural homes still lack piped water and need better sanitation facilities. Unemployment is high in some countries and population groups. As to subjective measures, the proportion of people over 50 who report having social support is twice as high in the countries with the highest levels than in those with the lowest. Scores for people’s satisfaction with their lives vary greatly. More work is needed to understand the differences in well-being and countries’ experience of monitoring it.

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Target 5. Universal coverage and the right to health

The goal of universal health coverage is to ensure that people get the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them. Progress is assessed by looking at total health expenditure, which is the percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP) that a country spends on health, alongside out-of-pocket health expenditure. In addition, the uptake of preventive measures like vaccination can be used as an indicator of access to affordable services. Moving towards universal health coverage still requires considerable action.

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Target 6. National target or goals set by Member States

Progress towards this goal is being achieved by establishing processes to enable Member States to set their own goals. Over 50% of countries have set goals and targets for health and well-being, and the implementation of health policies aligned with Health 2020 is increasing.