The second draft proposal for the WHO's European strategy on non-communicable disease has now been published. Following a meeting of WHO Europe National Counterparts for the development of the European Strategy on Non-communicable Diseases (NCD) in April, in Copenhagen, Denmark, the second draft proposal was released on May 17.
The goal of this strategy is to significantly reduce disease burden from NCD, improve quality of life and make healthy life-expectancy more equitable in Europe. The document presents the challenges faced by Europe, evidence for effective action, the strategic approach and an action framework to guide Member States.
Gender and men’s health are frequently referred to. Among the challenges, the document acknowledges that:
- ‘At least 35% of men over 60 years of age have been found to have 2 or more chronic conditions and the number of co-morbidities increases progressively with age, with higher levels among women.’
- Factors determining health and the burden of ill-health may be different for women and men. Throughout the life course, women and men are attributed, and take, different roles in society, which are valued differently. This not only affects life-styles, risk-taking and health-seeking behaviour, but also determines the degree to which women and men have access to, and control over the resources and decision-making needed to protect their health. These result in inequitable patterns of health risk, access to and use of health services and health outcomes.
Recommended actions propose to:
- Tackle racial injustice and discrimination on basis of age, gender, ethnicity
- Ensure that health professionals and service managers have appropriate skills and training for delivering services in gender and ethnic sensitive ways
- Develop specialist services for the problems facing young and older people, and gender specific issues
- Review policies for sensitivity to age, gender, ethnicity (health promotion / health determinants)
Regarding the improvement of the planning and delivery of services: the report recommends to: "Involve women in the design of gender-sensitive prevention and treatment programmes". It is the view of the EMHF that this statement should be expanded to include also male users of these services.