The EMHF has tabled an amendment to the EU health strategy explicitly calling on the EU to aim to promote equality between men and women in all community activities including health protection.
The amendment, which is based on the EC Treaty principle of gender equality, was tabled by MEP John Bowis, a member of the EMHF board of directors. The Forum also welcomed the amendments by Professor Antonios Trakatellis, the European Parliament’s ‘rapporteur’ charged with monitoring the Commission’s proposal for a the health strategy (or, to give it its full name, the 'Programme of Community action in the field of Health and Consumer protection').
In its position paper on the strategy, the EMHF called for a gender focus in health policy, a theme developed by John Bowis in January’s editorial on this site. ‘The new programme must ensure that European organisations active in the field of gender and health are offered more opportunities to contribute to EU public health debates,’ said Erick Savoye, director of the EMHF.
‘A gender-sensitive approach to screening, disease and injury prevention programmes could help improve the effectiveness of resources dedicated to tackling priority health issues such as smoking, alcohol abuse, sexual health, nutrition and physical activity,' he went on.
‘If health policy is to be at the centre of EU policy making, considerations should also be brought to the impact of working conditions, social and economic status, not least poverty, and environment on the respective health of male and female citizens in the EU.’
In its position paper, the EMHF also called for improved financial transparency. It pointed out that excluding NGOs receiving EU funding from also receiving any level of commercial funding could compromise those NGOs independence from the EU. The response also argues that tighter regulation on the funding of ‘multi-stakeholder organisations’ could lead to important organisations who did not qualify for support as as patient or consumer-driven organisations being marginalised in the EU health debate.