01 September 2015
- Inequalities, - Healthcare

On the 29-30th of June, EU Policy and Membership Officer Jelena Malinina attended the Universal Health Conference in Riga, Latvia, which was held to conclude the Latvian Presidency of the European Union (January – July 2015). The conference aimed to identify strategies to promote the participation of citizens in creation of efficient, equitable health systems in Europe to improve health for all.

The Conference, which was built on the Vilnius Declaration of November 2013, concluded with an agreement on the Riga Roadmap – a call for action, asking EU institutions and national governments to apply specific measures to maximise health and wellbeing and ensure the long-term sustainability of Europe’s health systems. The Riga Roadmap foresees the following actions:

  1. Identifying of appropriate and smarter ways of preventing unnecessary costs and burdens of disease. Prevention will be based on possible actions include smoking bans, effective food and alcohol information for consumers, promotion of physical activity and vaccination programmes.
  2. Supporting sustainable healthcare systems by investment in valuable innovation, based on patients’ needs and societal needs. Some principles should be developed to determine how valuable innovation should be encouraged and promoted. This could include creating frameworks for meaningful patient involvement across the innovation chain, from setting priorities for research to regulatory processes, cost-benefit assessments, pricing and reimbursement, and the ethical and consented use of patient data.
  3. Ensuring universal access to high quality people-centred health services, requires the development of a concrete strategy to ensure more equitable access to healthcare for all based on the principle of non-discrimination, to ensure all people in Europe, whatever their situation or vulnerabilities, has continued access to basic healthcare services.

Stakeholders representing patients, industry, academics and clinicians called on European Member States, European Institutions and the World Health Organisation to work with them to promote the objectives emerging from the Riga Conference, and to take a holistic view to help ensure that European healthcare systems are people-centred, sustainable and deliver inclusive healthcare for all.

The Riga Roadmap aims to serve as a guiding thread of actionable points that will carry the four principles for European health – of prevention, promotion, protection, and participation – forward in the future. It is accessible here:

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