Summary: Equitable and Green EU Public Health: Perspectives from Dorota Sienkiewicz

Dr Eleanor Brooks |

On 6 July 2022, EUHealthGov held its fifth online seminar. We had the pleasure to welcome Dorota Sienkiewicz, Senior Policy Coordinator at EuroHealthNet, for a practitioner perspective on the ‘triple-win’ approach for EU public health to combine action on climate, health, and social equity.

Ms Sienkiewicz started by introducing EuroHealthNet, the European Partnership for Health, Equity, and Wellbeing. The Partnership is constituted of 64 members – national public health institutes and authorities, regional and local health agencies, and research and practice organisations.

One emphasis of the intervention was on the interrelatedness of the health, sustainability, and equity challenges that contemporary societies face. These issues cannot be addressed separately and require multiple types of action at multiple levels of governance. This is why a ‘triple-win’ approach is necessary. Such an approach requires a shift from siloes towards systems thinking, and bold action on the so-called ‘upstream’ determinants of health, to foster a sustainable, ‘within-limits’ Economy of Wellbeing. One example of a triple-win mindset highlighted in the presentation, was the increased use of nature-based solutions to improve mental and physical wellbeing (‘Green Prescribing’). In terms of EU policy initiatives, Ms Sienkiewicz stressed the opportunities offered by the European Green Deal, as well as new initiatives explicitly combining the issues of climate, health, and social justice, such as the Social Climate Fund and the European Health and Climate Change Observatory.

The presentation also introduced an online resource for health and equity research and advocacy: the E-Guide for Financing Health Promoting Services. This tool was developed in collaboration between EuroHealthNet and the Steering Board for Social Infrastructure, and built on an initiative by the Coalition of Partners of the WHO European Region. It offers a set of concrete guidance for thinking about investment in health beyond the health sector.

A recording of the presentation and the presentation slides, will shortly be available on the EUHealthGov website.