Committee on Public Health’s (SANT) report on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) adopted in the plenary session of 13 December

We are pleased to welcome the adoption of the Committee on Public Health’s (SANT) report on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) at the plenary on 13/12. We appreciate and recognise many positive elements of the report, which closely align with our shared commitment to addressing health disparities and improving healthcare access across the EU.

We thank the MEPs for their important work at the committee and on the report. We appreciate and recognise many positive elements of the document, which closely align with our shared commitment to addressing health disparities and improving healthcare access across the EU.  Overall, we are very happy about the final report which included:

  • The term ‘marginalised’
  • Emphasis on disproportionate impact of NCDs on these communities
  • Call for targeted initiatives to reduce healthcare disparities
  • Emphasis on the importance of addressing the socioeconomic determinants

In light of this progress, we strongly encourage the MEPs at the SANT committee to further prioritise discussions on health inequalities and the healthcare challenges faced by marginalised groups in forthcoming hearings.


NLO develops policy priorities for the upcoming EU Elections

As the European Union approaches the pivotal 2024 elections and a new parliamentary mandate, it is imperative that legislative priorities place access to healthcare and the reduction of health inequalities at the forefront of the political agenda. To ensure sustainable and inclusive healthcare systems across the EU, it is crucial to prioritise marginalised groups, including people experiencing homelessness, LGBTI people, people who use drugs, prisoners, sex workers, ethnic minorities, and undocumented migrants, and confront the existing disparities that undermine equitable healthcare.

The Nobody Left Outside (NLO) initiative recommends the following:
  1. Ensuring Universal Health Coverage: Enact policies and legislations that guarantee equal access to quality healthcare services for all individuals, irrespective of their socioeconomic background, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, occupation, migration status or other factors. This should include ensuring that accessing health services, and other vital services and supports, does not have immigration consequences for people with irregular or insecure residence status through the creation of “firewalls”.
  2. Intersectional Approach: Recognise the intersecting identities and challenges faced by individuals within these groups when accessing healthcare services and develop an EU Action Plan on Access to healthcare for Marginalised communities.
  3. Integrating Health Perspective into All Policies: Approach policy development in all areas, including migration policy, with a focus on assessing and understanding their potential health impacts on marginalised communities.
  4. Removing financial Barriers: Ensure that healthcare services are affordable and accessible to marginalised groups by reducing financial and administrative (such as requirement to have an address) barriers.
  5. Elimination of Discrimination and Stigma: Combat discrimination within healthcare services towards marginalised groups, as these violate fundamental rights and lead to reduced access, inadequate care, or avoidance of healthcare services due to fear of mistreatment or stigmatisation.
  6. Enhancing Primary Healthcare: Invest in robust primary healthcare systems that serve as the first point of contact for individuals, especially those from marginalised communities, and prioritise preventive care, early intervention, and health promotion for these groups.
  7. Promoting Health Literacy: Promote initiatives that enhance health literacy among marginalised communities, empowering them to make informed decisions about their health. Provide access to reliable health information, health education programs, and multilingual resources to bridge language barriers.
  8. Data Collection and Monitoring: Establish robust systems for data collection, analysis, and monitoring of health inequalities, with a particular focus on marginalised groups, to inform evidence-based policies and interventions that effectively reduce disparities.
  9. Best Practice Sharing: Foster collaboration and knowledge sharing among the EU Member States to develop innovative approaches and share best practices in reducing health inequalities and improving healthcare access for marginalised communities.
  10. Active Inclusion of Marginalised Communities in Policymaking: Establish a comprehensive framework for the active inclusion and participation of marginalised communities in the development of public health policies and services. This should involve continuous and structured engagement mechanisms, collaboration with community-led organisations, and inclusive decision-making processes that prioritise the specific needs and expertise of these communities.

Committee on Public Health (SANT) amendments reflect marginalised communities' concerns

NLO is pleased to welcome the recent report on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) by the Committee on Public Health (SANT) and the amendments proposed by MEPs. We appreciate and recognise many positive elements of the report, which closely align with our shared commitment to addressing health disparities and improving healthcare access across the EU.

The report is particularly important for people in marginalised communities, as they suffer disproportionately from non-communicable diseases. They experience greater vulnerability to developing these diseases and encounter significant barriers in accessing essential NCD treatment and care. This alarming disparity requires immediate attention and targeted interventions to bridge the gap in health outcomes.
We commend the efforts of MEPs who have presented amendments to the report, endorsing several critical recommendations, such as:

  • Inclusion of the Term 'Marginalised': The report now explicitly includes the term 'marginalised,' signifying the recognition of the unique challenges faced by these communities.
  • Disproportionate Suffering: It emphasises that marginalised communities are disproportionately affected by non-communicable diseases and are more vulnerable to developing these conditions. This is a crucial acknowledgment of the disparities in healthcare outcomes.
  • Increased Exposure to NCD Risk Factors: The amendments highlight that marginalised populations face a greater exposure to risk factors associated with NCDs, contributing to their higher prevalence and mortality rates.
  • Targeted Initiatives: The report calls for targeted initiatives to reduce healthcare disparities and ensure equitable access to NCD prevention and treatment services for individuals from marginalised backgrounds.
  • Socioeconomic Determinants: Socioeconomic determinants of health are now identified as major NCD risk factors, emphasising the multifaceted nature of health disparities.
  • Reducing Undiagnosed NCDs: Member States are encouraged to introduce targeted health checks for high-risk individuals and those belonging to vulnerable and marginalised groups, with the aim of reducing undiagnosed NCDs. Early diagnosis and intervention are pivotal in improving health outcomes.
  • Specific Awareness Campaigns: The report underscores the importance of paying particular attention to disadvantaged, vulnerable, socially excluded, and marginalised individuals. It highlights the need for specific awareness-raising campaigns tailored to groups with unique health literacy needs.

As MEPs continue their deliberations on the draft report and the proposed amendments, NLO encourages policymakers to support and retain these crucial amendments. These amendments prioritise the health of the most vulnerable and have the potential to significantly promote health equity. It is imperative that we work together to ensure that the amendments are not only considered but also integrated into the final report to create a more inclusive and equitable healthcare system for all EU citizens. Together, we can make a meaningful impact on public health in the EU.


European Health Forum Gastein 2023 Climate and health: Understanding the impact on Europe’s most marginalised communities: Moving from mitigation to inclusive adaptation and resilience

In a pivotal moment in the EU election cycle, with a growing sense of climate urgency, a collaborative session organised by NLO and Wellcome addressed the critical relationship between climate and health. The session featured esteemed panel speakers who provided valuable insights into this pressing issue:

  • Natasha Azzopardi-Muscat, Director, Division of Country Health Policies and Systems, WHO Regional Office for Europe
  • Elina Bardram, Director for Adaptation & Resilience, Communication, and Civil Society Relations, DG CLIMA
  • Freek Spinnewijn, Director, FEANTSA
  • Catherine Guinard, Europe Lead, Wellcome
  • Milka Sokolović, Director General, European Public Health Alliance
  • Marina Romanello, Executive Director, Lancet Countdown
The session put a spotlight on the profound impact of the climate crisis on marginalised communities, underscoring their heightened vulnerability and reduced resilience. It acknowledged the disproportionate burden that marginalised communities bear due to the adverse consequences of climate change and emphasised the imperative of tangible solutions and innovative approaches for a more equitable future.

Participants engaged in interactive world café discussions during the second half of the session. They explored and reflected on various strategies, including policy recommendations, community-based initiatives, and interventions designed to enhance resilience, adaptation, and mitigation. These discussions encompassed key themes such as Research and Data, Health in All Policies (HiAP), and Adaptation and Best Practices.

The dialogue also explored into how the EU can better prioritise these communities and develop long-term climate plans tailored to their unique needs. Key points of discussion included the pivotal role of data in comprehending and mitigating climate-related health challenges, the essential inclusion of marginalised groups and civil society organisations in research efforts, policy development, and implementation, and the significance of equitable policies and funding to address the dual impact of climate change and existing health disparities.

Furthermore, the session underscored the critical role of Health in All Policies (HiAP) in advocating for holistic approaches to climate and health. It emphasised the importance of considering marginalised communities in policy discussions and addressing the socioeconomic disparities that often exacerbate health inequities. The speakers shared concrete examples of best practices and highlighted the significance of learning from successful advocacy efforts.

As the EU approaches the 2024 elections and a new parliamentary mandate, it is of paramount importance that climate-health takes center stage on the political agenda. Addressing the health challenges posed by climate change, particularly among marginalised communities, should be a primary concern for policymakers.

The overarching theme that emerged was the pressing need for cross-sector collaboration, inclusive policy development, and data-driven decision-making to enhance resilience and reduce vulnerability in the face of climate-related health challenges. These discussions not only underscored the severity of the issue but also paved the way for informed, equitable, and impactful responses aimed at safeguarding the health of all communities.

On behalf of the NLO initiative, we would like to thank EHFG for hosting us. We extend our gratitude to Wellcome for their invaluable collaboration, and heartfelt thanks to MSD Europe for their unwavering support. Together, we've ignited meaningful conversations that pave the way for a healthier, more equitable future. Until next time!


EHFG 2023- Climate and health: Understanding the impact on Europe’s most marginalised communities: Moving from mitigation to inclusive adaptation and resilience

We are excited to announce that NLO is back at the European Health Forum Gastein this year, collaborating with Wellcome on a session of utmost importance. We invite you to join us for an enlightening discussion on: 

"Climate and Health: Understanding the Impact on Europe’s Most Marginalised Communities: Moving from Mitigation to Inclusive Adaptation and Resilience" 

Date: September 28th, 2023

Time: 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM (CEST) 

More information is available here.

At a pivotal juncture within the EU election cycle, this session will delve deeply into the crucial interplay between climate and health, with a specific focus on marginalised groups. We will examine the profound impact of the climate crisis on these underrepresented communities. The session will feature engaging panel discussions with experts and provide opportunities for dynamic World Cafe discussions. These discussions will aim to bridge the knowledge gap concerning the intersection of climate and health, with a particular emphasis on marginalised communities.  

Recognising that marginalised communities bear a disproportionate burden of the adverse consequences of climate change, the insights generated during the session will inform policy frameworks aimed at delivering a more equitable future for all. By scrutinising current policy frameworks related to climate adaptation and health, as well as ongoing initiatives, the session will seek to influence future political priorities and policy advancements at the EU level. It will: 

  • Make the case for action on climate and health, with marginalised communities at its heart.  
  • Explore existing data and research in this field.  
  • Discuss current examples of good practise and how these could be scaled/challenges of implementation.  
  • Galvanise around need for further action, in particular around the European elections.   

We invite you to join us for this crucial exploration of how the EU can best champion the prioritisation of the health of marginalised communities as an integral part of long-term climate action plans. By prioritising these communities and their unique challenges, we can forge a path toward a more prosperous and inclusive future! 


‘Surviving not thriving’. A discussion paper based on the outcomes of the ‘youth dialogue on mental health and social inclusion’ is now available

In December 2022, NLO in collaboration with WHO Regional Office for Europe, hosted the Youth Dialogue on Mental Health and Social Inclusion. The event brought together youth representatives covering healthcare professionals, young people with lived experience of mental health conditions and services, representatives of marginalised groups, and other interested parties to discuss mental health and well-being among young people, with a focus on who is most at risk and left behind. As a result of these discussions, we are thrilled to announce the release of 'Surviving not Thriving' discussion paper. We thank WHO Regional Office for Europe for their unwavering support and young participants for their valuable contributions during and after the event.

This paper is an essential read for anyone interested in the mental health and wellbeing of young people. It highlights the challenges faced by young people in terms of their mental health, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need for sustained efforts from societal and governmental levels to address the issue. It provides valuable insights into the realities faced by young people experiencing poor mental health and social exclusion and offers practical recommendations for policymakers, service providers, and other stakeholders to address these challenges effectively.

‘Surviving not thriving’ paper is now available here

 

 

 

 

 

 


A Video Message from Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe 

In a recent statement, Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, praised NLO's work as an organisation dedicated to improving healthcare access for some of the most vulnerable members of our societies.

Dr Kluge commended NLO for its commitment to promote health equity and reduce disparities in accessing healthcare services for marginalised communities. He highlighted NLO's efforts to engage with communities, build partnerships, and develop innovative solutions to effectively address present health challenges.

"The work of Nobody left outside and its member organisations speak strongly to the principles that WHO stands for. We have a common purpose to work towards inclusive, accessible health systems to provide care for all those who need it, when and where they need it."

We are honored to receive this recognition from Dr Kluge and thank WHO Europe for their unwavering support.

The video statement is available here

 


NLO endorses the DisQo- anti-discrimination & health equity Joint Statement

NLO is a member of a Thematic Network DisQo, which brings together people and organisations with the shared ambition to address structural racism and discrimination for health equity. We are proud to endorse the ‘DisQo- anti-discrimination & health equity’ Joint Statement, which advocates for improving public health through the proactive elimination of institutional, structural, and interpersonal racism and discrimination that impact physical and mental health inequalities. The Joint Statement outlines five key priorities for addressing the issue in a constructive, collaborative, and respectful manner. NLO together with the undersigned organisations calls for decision-makers at all levels including the European Commission, to take an active stance against all forms of racism and discrimination.

We at NLO are committed to the following actionable steps to ensure equity, anti-racism, and anti-discrimination:

 

  1. Recognise racism and discrimination as the fundamental determinants of health, equity, and well-being. We will continue to: enhance policies and practices aimed at preventing them in our organisation; acknowledge this issue in our work and advocacy efforts where feasible; form partnerships and work collaboratively with organisations from various sectors to establish groups of professionals that can learn from each other’s experiences.
  2. Strengthen social participation of racialised and discriminated communities, and foster diversity, representation, and anti-discrimination. Through our work, we will continue to actively advocate for the greater involvement of the marginalised communities in creating, implementing, and assessing legislative initiatives; offer personal experiences, feedback, and practical solutions.
  3. Increase the clarity and consistency of critical definitions related to racism, discrimination, and health equity. We will foster safe spaces to engage in respectful and inclusive dialogue and provide leadership and active engagement in EU actions to harmonise definitions.
  4. Collect more (health) equality data, disaggregated by indicators on multiple grounds of discrimination, and harmonise EU data collection. We will advocate for high-quality equality data by urging for proper resource allocation at both the EU and national levels; focus on leading and participating in initiatives that work towards standardising the collection of equality data throughout the EU.
  5. Strengthen existing EU anti-discrimination legislation by breaking down silos and boosting policy mainstreaming, transparency, reparative justice, and social participation. We will enhance cooperation with groups beyond typical network affiliations and take a proactive role in participatory initiatives aimed at incorporating EU policies more widely.

 

We are fully committed to our goal of ensuring accessible healthcare for marginalised people in Europe. By aligning with this Joint Statement and urging the European Commission to follow suit, we aim to promote a fairer, more just, inclusive, and overall, a healthier society.

The Joint Statement is available here.


NLO in Conversation, the film

We are delighted to announce that NLO in Conversation film is now available on our website.

NLO in Conversation is a textual, atmospheric film that reflects the feeling of isolation experienced by everyone during the pandemic but at the same time shows the ever-present sense of isolation for those in marginalised communities. The film consists of the experiences of NLO members, their members or spokespeople nominated by them. They talk passionately and accurately about the experience of their community during the pandemic and the revelatory understanding gleaned from this experience. The film is curated by videographer Alan Compton.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown with all urgency that existing inequalities amplify in times of crisis. The people interviewed for the film offer their experience and knowledge to help us learn from the pandemic and create more equitable, more resilient healthcare systems where nobody is left outside. 

The film aims to give policymakers, EU stakeholders and other interested parties a deeper understanding of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted accessing health and social care for marginalised communities. It further gives examples of good practices and community engagement. 

 


‘Surviving not thriving’ : The outcomes of the youth dialogue on mental health and social inclusion

‘Surviving not thriving’

The outcomes of the youth dialogue on mental health and social inclusion

In December 2022, NLO, in collaboration with WHO Regional Office for Europe, hosted the Youth Dialogue on Mental Health and Social Inclusion. The event brought together youth representatives covering healthcare professionals, young people with lived experience of mental health conditions and services, representatives of marginalised groups, and other interested parties to discuss mental health and well-being among young people, with a focus on who is most at risk and left behind.

Interactive discussions gathered insights on the mental health interventions and support young people need, how they stay resilient to protect their mental health and well-being, and how youth communities should be engaged in policymaking. The dialogues offered a safe platform for participants to share their lived experiences prior to, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. It resulted in identifying key barriers, offered concrete solutions to better mental health and well-being in youth and also portrayed the worrying reality in which young people are 'surviving, not thriving'.

Over the past months, we have been working to prepare the discussion paper, and it is now available. The event participants are invited to share their feedback with us via email info@nobodyleftoutside.eu by 1 May 2023.

The discussion paper provides answers to the following questions:

  1. What interventions and support do young people want and need?
  2. How are young people staying resilient and protecting their mental health and wellbeing?
  3. How should youth communities be engaged in policymaking?

Please find here the discussion paper ‘Surviving not thriving’.