The following is a selection of examples of some work done by the EIWH over the past 20 years.
WOMEN’S HEALTH IN EUROPE
Facts and Figures Across the European Union
The European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH) endeavoured to produce in depth documents on women’s and family health and other health policy issues. Our reports cover a range of health related issues including, but not limited to, women’s health status in Europe, health literacy, dementia and engendering health research.
This initiative from the European Institute of Women’s Health was launched on Wed. 8th March, 2006. This intended to capture the state of Women’s Health across the EU. It includes, for the first time, data from the ten new member states. It is divided into 3 sections: demographic and socio economic trends; women’s health issues; policy recommendations and suggestions for future research in the in the field of women’s health at EU level. Note the booklet is in 2 parts.
Women’s Health: EU Country Overviews for Health (2006)
Women’s Health in Europe: EU Country Overviews for Health was commissioned by EIWH, 2005.
This report represented the first attempt to have comparative statistics on all Eu countries with key data on health. We found that we needed to refer to a range of statistics on an ever growing number of EU partners for basic data about health and the major factors that influence the level of health enjoyed by various groups of EU citizens.
It covers Demographic and Socio-Economic Trends, population, basic health, major influences on health such as Employment, Lifestyle and major chronic diseases including heart, cancer and lifestyle disorders. Other areas will be added and updated when time and budgets allow.
Discrimination against Women and Young Girls in the Health Sector Report (2006)
In August 2006, a survey was sent by the European Institute of Women’s Health to a series of expert advisors in eight European countries:
Belgium, Bulgaria Germany, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom:
requesting information for a report to the European Parliament on the topic of Discrimination Against Women and Girls in the Health Sector.
The survey examined the state of women and young girls’ health, health policies for women and young girls, gendered patterns of health and specific health issues as they apply to women to each country.
The report summarised the findings.
Cervical Cancer in the European Union and Accession Countries: An Audit (2003)
The European Institute of Women’s Health presents this Audit on cervical cancer screening throughout the enlarged European Union as our contribution to the debate around the draft EU Recommendation on Cancer Screening, due to be adopted by the European Commission in 2003. While the EU Recommendation is designed to promote quality screening in all cancers, this Audit focuses on cervical cancer, because the EIWH is convinced that national programmes coupled with the introduction of the latest in screening technologies, notably HPV testing, would not only consolidate the successes of the Pap smear, but could make a significant contribution to eliminating this virally-induced and slow-growing disease.
Navigating Health: The Role of Health Literacy (2003)
The changing health environment carries mixed blessings for citizens making health decisions.
- On the one hand, there’s more choice in treatment and more information to guide our choices.
- On the other hand, the deluge of information is often more confusing than helpful.
Health care systems are becoming more complex and encompass a broader range of providers from different sectors than ever before. This rapidly-changing sphere of health demands a lot of patients and citizens.
Health decisions place them in a vulnerable position in which we must take risks without any certainty of outcome. This is true regardless of one’s educational level, culture or social status. Health literacy is not a safeguard against this uncertainty. However, it may help people navigate health and health care with a better understanding of potential consequences: a map and a compass on a difficult and unpredictable journey.
The European Institute of Women’s Health, along with the European Men’s Health Forum and Alliance for Health and the Future, co-authored a report on health literacy.
Engendering Health(y) Research Ethics in Europe (2003)
This country specific report is part of an EU Project aiming to lay the groundwork for the development of a European instrument for the gender-sensitive assessment of biomedical research protocols. Five member States took part in the project, and carried out research in their respective countries examining the opportunities to integrate the gender perspective into the ethical review processes.
The two main research questions of the project are:
1) What exists presently in terms of legislation and regulations in regards to Research Ethics Committees (REC’s).
The researchers were particularly interested in ascertaining what rules governed the functioning and the actual performance tasks in the five member states and whether the routines and the judicial embedding pay attention to the gender perspective; and
2) Exploring if and how attention to gender can be implemented into the assessment procedures of RECs.
The complete report includes all five country specific reports, a comparison report and recommendations for the development of an instrument for a gender sensitive assessment for research protocols by RECs.
Gender Equity in Public Health in Europe (2000)
Gender equity historically focused on equal opportunity in the workplace, fair pay, violence against women, and gender stereotypes. Although these issues continue to deserve further investigation and analysis, the question of gender equity in public health remains a relatively new field of inquiry. Women are currently living longer than men but are reported as being less healthy.
The unique biological distinctions between women and men, individual social influences as well as gender roles, responsibilities, and socio economic class, education, and culture are all factors in vulnerability to illness, access to preventative and curative measures, and the quality of care provided.
These elements must be considered in order to achieve equitable treatment for men and women in the sector of public health.
The European Institute of Women’s Health held the ‘Gender Equity in Public Health in Europe’ Conference, September 2000. Representatives from the healthcare sector, government officials, medical experts, researchers, NG0s, and Industry professionals attended informative workshops and lectures to facilitate an integrated approach in applying gender perspectives to various health topics.
The recommendations that resulted from the Conference, included the suggestions put forth by participants to correct the gender imbalance in healthcare, targetted policy-makers and the medical and private sectors, along with consumer groups and international organisations. These recommendations will contribute to effective health promotion and disease prevention programnes for both sexes, emphasising early detection and treatment of illness.
Gender Equity in Public Health in Europe Report
REMIND:Dementia Care,Challenges for an Ageing Europe (1999)
Dementia Care: Challenges for an Ageing Europe highlights the challenges posed by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias to European Member States. The cross-country comparison of policies and practices undertaken in this report provides a valuable assessment of the variation that exists regarding treatment of dementia and support of carers.
The Institute pointed out that the challenge facing Europe as a community lies in developing an interdisciplinary combination of medical, clinical, social, economic, governmental and personal approaches to those with dementia and their families.
The report recommendations emphasise that this should be placed on the “personhood” of the dementia patient. This reiterates key policy principles that the underlying goal across the EU must be to help maintain dementia patients in dignity and independence as long as possible, with strong support for carers. REMIND was funded in part by the EU.
Mid Life and Older Women’s Health, Facts and Figures Report (1998)
Mid Life and Older Women’s Health provides an overview of the health of mid-life and older women across Europe, capturing both differences and similarities in women’s health between the Member States of the European Union (EU) and countries elsewhere.
It examines some key demographic and socio-economic trends, as well as some of the main causes of mortality and morbidity for mid-life and older women. The report has drawn upon many primary and secondary sources of information about health.
The level of aggregation varies, ranging from national, Community, European and international levels. Where possible and practicable, the most recent data available have been used.
Women in Europe—Towards Healthy Ageing Report (1996)
This is a review of the health status of mid-life and older women. Its publication follows closely on the European Commission’s own report on the demographic situation in the European Union. The review gives a European demographic trends point to an increasingly aged population, especially of women. The number of people over 60 years of age will rise from just over 76 million in 1995 to a projected figure of almost 114 million in 2025. During this same period the number of people under 20 years of age will fall by 11 %. These trends have major implications not only for the cost of health services but also for the facilities and services which will be required in the future. The report points out that planning will result in actions to minimise the adverse effects on women. While focused on older women, it contains lessons for all: young and old, male and female, health professionals and patients. These issues include a major emphasis on the need for health promotion and education measures.
The fact is that a great number of the major illnesses which afflict European citizens are lifestyle-related. Measures to educate citizens on risk avoidance, on better diet, and on the benefits of physical and mental fitness can all play a major part in improving both life expectancy and the quality of life. Moreover, these measures can often be implemented more effectively and at lower cost than more expensive and invasive medical treatments. It may be a cliche but in this respect prevention is better than cure!
The four health areas covered by the review –
- coronary heart disease,
- osteoporosis and
Health promotion and prevention have major roles to play in mitigating the impact. The European Commission, for its part, recognises that the health needs of women merit special consideration. In its forthcoming report on Health Status in the European Union, the Commission will, therefore, include a specific chapter on this subject.