EIWH – Country Reports for European Parliament Study.
Time constraints dictated that there should be a quick turn around of information for these country reports. However, not only were some advisors unavailable when the questionnaire was sent, but because of the varying availability of statistics, the task proved far more difficult for some to complete than for others. Many responses arrived too late to be included in early versions of the report to the European Parliament; in addition, despite every expert being sent the same pro-forma, responses and level of detail varied greatly.
Furthermore, questions were interpreted differently, and descriptions were given of governance and systems that proved difficult to compare. Reporting tended to centre on conditions suffered only by women, rather than the disadvantage women experience in diagnosis or treatment of all
conditions, or on gender-specific research and the issues this raises.
In all, nearly 100 pages of material was received, not including supporting reports and documents. When added to material already being included for the report, we had around six times the projected size of the final report.
The logistics of preparing the European Parliament report in a short time frame meant that much of the material could not be included. Some results conflicted with data already gathered, but time did not allow for deeper analysis. Lengthy explanations of local governance, culture and
socio-economics, which might have shed light on certain types of discrimination, had to be deleted.
Quite often, data was not comparable because it had been drawn from a variety of dated reports. For example, in the 2003 WHO publication describing incidence of, and deaths from, cervical cancer, the data dated from 1993 (Portugal), 1996 (Belgium and Poland), 1997 (UK), 1998 (Germany), 1999 (Sweden), and 2001 (Bulgaria) – a span of eight years. In this time political,
economic and social conditions had changed immensely in many of the countries reviewed.
It seems apparent from some of the responses received, that contemporary data is actually available on a localised basis. Differences in language, transcription, governance and software may be making this material difficult to access internationally.
In response to the question asking for an in-depth country overview of three issues from a list of eight common conditions, the break down was as follows1 :
|Condition||No. of reports|
|Sexually transmitted infections||4|
It has been seen then that the difficulties of gathering timely, comparable information – even in a simple format – are immense. A platform is sorely needed that would allow the linking and exchange of information in a widely – and immediately – accessible format.
We would like to thank all contributors for their excellent work.
Higher Institute for Family Sciences
|Bulgaria||Albena Kerekovska Faculty of Public Health,Medical University of Varna|
Center for Gender in Medicine
Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin andUlrike Maschewsky-Schneider
Berlin School of Public Health, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
|Greece||Dr. Constantina Safiliou-Rothschild
Executive Council, 50+Hellas
Founding Member 50+Hellas
|Poland||Maria Wasilewska Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Chief specialist|
|Portugal||Julian Perelman, Ceu Mateus, Ana Fernandes
National School of Public Health
Univbersidade Nova de Lisboa andDr Vasco Prazeres General-Directorate of Health
Ministry of Health.
|Sweden||Pia Maria Jonsson
Karolinska Institute, Stockholm
|United Kingdom||Hilary Thomas Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care
University of Hertfordshire and Annie Dillon, N.W.C.I