EPHA’s mission is to improve the health of all people living in Europe and to increase their participation in policy-making that affects their health.
Our vision is
- An equitable society where all individuals enjoy good health regardless of socio-economic status.
- Accountable and accessible EU institutions, transparent policy-making with real opportunities for input.
- Public health prioritized and mainstreamed across all policies, drawing on proven public health models and evidence-based population health interventions.
EPHA has a unique role as:
• A resource: Targeted and tailored information that empowers members and the wider public; a pool of collective expertise well-positioned to advise and evaluate.
• An advocate: An active, articulate champion of its core values that seeks constructive dialogue with institutions and policy makers; acts as a channel of communication to enhance the voices of the public health sector.
• A platform: A space for action, reflection and monitoring; a rallying point for public health groups in Europe; a network that stimulates genuine debate.
EPHA business plan, 2006-2010, has the following multi-annual strategic objectives:
- Strengthening the EPHA structure and Secretariat: by improving its visibility outside Brussels, its governance, streamlining the administration and operations while maintaining sustainability.
- Developing and enhancing the capacity of EPHA member organizations to engage with the EU: by offering information, training and a menu of opportunities for its members.
- Building national advocacy on EU issues: by raising awareness, training, arguing the case for health in Europe and organising joint national and EU activities.
- Advocating for and supporting healthy public policy development in Europe: by direct dialogue, memberships and networks, joint letters and campaigns, media relations and working on transparency of stakeholders.
These objectives are met through:
- monitoring the policy making process within the EU institutions and maximising the flow of information on health promotion and public health policy developments amongst all interested players including: Parliamentarians, civil servants, NGOs, stakeholders and citizens;
- promoting greater awareness amongst European citizens and non-governmental organisations about policy developments and programme initiatives that effect the health of EU citizens so that they can contribute to the policy making process;
- training, mentoring and supporting NGOs and health actors to engage with the EU, particularly local organisations, those working with disadvantaged communities and in new Member States;
- participating in policy debates and stakeholder dialogues to raise the profile of health in all policy areas, supporting collaboration and partnerships between non-governmental organisations and other organisations active at European, national and local level on health promotion and public health.
These Strategic Objectives and actions were identified as multi-annual priorities for the organisation by the General Assembly in 2005. They reflect the activities of the Secretariat - the work of EPHA is split between engaging in public policy and building capacity within the public health community. Annual priorities are set by the General Assembly - normally during an extraordinary session held in the Autumn each year.
In the European Parliament, EPHA also provides secretariat support for the Intergroup on Health and Consumers Intergroup, a forum for discussion by MEPs from all political parties on key aspects of public health.
EPHA`s policy work is structured according to three thematic areas: health determinants, health systems and EU systems. Additionally, there are activities to strengthen the governance and operation of EPHA. EPHA`s activities are multi-annual in that it follows the full scope of the policy agenda - priorities identified for a given year reflect the particular additional and strategic attention that will be placed on that priority. Priorities in 2008 continue to be followed and explored in 2009 although the scale and scope of the activities are reduced, and likewise 2009 priorities will continue into 2010 although to a lesser degree.
1.Health determinants: Disease prevention - especially cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD) - will be addressed through specific actions on the key causal factors of diet, alcohol consumption, physical activity and smoking. These causal factors are ongoing priorities for EPHA however this is the first time they have been approached from the perspective of disease prevention (as opposed to health promotion. EPHA has chosen cancer and CVD as these represent the highest disease burden and cause of mortality in the EU, and believes they should be addressed together as their causal agents are the same.
Building on the work of its members that specialise on each topic, EPHA will bring evidence for action and policy recommendations to decision-makers at EU/national level on how they can contribute to cancer and CVD prevention. EPHA will continue to make commitments for action on nutrition through the EU Diet Platform and at the EU Alcohol and Health Forum. Health inequalities across the EU and within regions is a central theme for EPHA. Supporting NGOs representing the homeless, Roma and other socially excluded groups, EPHA will provide training and support to build their public health skills. This will include working with regional authorities to utilise structural funds towards investments in health capacity. EPHA will participate in health inequality events of the Belgian/Spanish Presidencies. A new focus on improving health throughout the life-course will link youth health into a broader approach setting out the key transition points in life and the threats/opportunities for health. EPHA will publish a report on this with key NGO partners on child, youth, adult and older people.
2.Health systems: EPHA`s working group on health systems tracks EU initiatives on the health workforce, discussing issues of patient and professional mobility, patient safety, quality of care. EPHA will work with MEPs and Member States to assess the potential impact on health inequalities and the sustainability of healthcare by monitoring the legislative passage of the Directive on Cross-Border Healthcare, the Pharmaceuticals Package. Work in 2009 on the financial crisis and health will continue in 2010, as the full effects of budget cuts become evident. EPHA will publish a report on the "Europeanisation of healthcare", outlining the impact of EU law and processes on national health systems.
3.EU systems: Following the 2009 institutional changes, EPHA will focus on raising the profile of health in other policy areas such as climate change, agriculture, transport, taxation, development and trade. EPHA has highlighted the issue of impact assessment and better regulation within the EUHPF and will work with other stakeholders to increase understanding and use of health impact assessment tools at EU level. In the Post-Lisbon Strategy, more priority and resources are needed for public health and social protection. EPHA will also work on issues of transparency in EU processes, stakeholder engagement with DG SANCO and other parts of the Commission. Building on 2009 work to identify lessons learned from capacity building in CEE countries, EPHA will publish a report on sustainable civil society development in different European contexts.