The European Institute of Women’s Health calls on all health authorities and policy-makers at local, national and European levels; non-governmental and inter-governmental organisations; women’s and older persons’ groups; health care professionals; research groups, and the media to support the policies and recommendations specified in each chapter of this report. The Institute urges all sectors to take action in these critical areas:
- Adopt a new, coordinated effort to ensure the prolonged health, well being and independence of mid-life and older women.
- Set time-based, achievable targets for the reduction of coronary heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and depression, thereby lessening the burden of disabilities and disease, not only on the sufferers but on society, their families and carers.
- Initiate further reports on the specific health problems of mid-life and older men and women.
- Exchange information and coordinate research data to provide a basis for informed decision-making in order to raise standards throughout Europe.
- Develop standards and guidelines and spread the knowledge of best practices wherever possible to ensure more cost-effective, higher quality health care for women, especially for the disadvantaged.
Prevention and health promotion
- Focus health promotion policies on prevention to help conserve diminishing resources for diagnosis and treatment of disease.
- Discourage smoking among women of all ages, since smoking is the single greatest risk factor for many diseases.
- Screen for diseases best diagnosed early, following guidelines set by the European Commission to ensure the highest quality and the broadest coverage.
- Educate women in the prevention, early detection and early treatment of the diseases and conditions that afflict them.
- Provide better instruction in the benefits of physical activity, nutritionally balanced diets and healthier lifestyles, together with awareness of how medical care can prevent and control disease.
- Involve women of all ages in planning and carrying out programmes to prevent diseases that affect women and to foster healthier lifestyles.
- Persuade and educate doctors and other health care workers to take women’s health concerns as seriously as they take those of men.
- Insist that medical curricula include better recognition of women’s health problems
Quality of life and independence
- Ensure that health care is oriented vigorously towards preserving the quality of life and independence of older people, so that even when disease cannot be cured, treatment strives to increase function and well being.
- Encourage and enable older people to lead independent lives and avoid institutional care as long as possible.
- Foster a favourable research climate in Europe so that adequate resources are devoted to studying innovative therapies and the prevention, alleviation and cure of age-related diseases, especially those affecting women.
- Avoid gender bias by directing studies towards women to the extent necessary rather than extrapolating findings from research conducted primarily on men.
- Strongly encourage European women to take part in research aimed at understanding, alleviating and solving their specific health problems.
Working together – the European Union and Member States, governments and non-governmental groups, men and women – we can help to ensure that European women will have a greater opportunity to live their later years in good health and independence, with less of the burden imposed by disability and disease.
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