During the plenary session of the European Parliament on the 25th February 2014, MEPs strongly voted in favour of putting into place the Health for Growth programme, the Third Programme of Community Action in the Field of Health 2014-2020.
The Health for Growth programme is meant to create a stronger link between economic growth and citizens? health. With it the EU wishes to contribute to the creation and development of innovative solutions to the problem of improving quality, effectiveness and sustainability of healthcare systems, giving special emphasis to human capital and exchange of best practices. To achieve these goals, the EU has earmarked ?400 million.
During her speech Zofija Mazej Kukovič (EPP/SDS) pointed out that ?In Europe there are currently 100 million chronically ill individuals and more than a third of our population is over 65 years old, creating a real challenge for health. Today?s society wishes for a healthy individual, both physically and mentally. We wish for a healthy society, as it is a precondition for healthy economic growth, which is especially needed during this time of crisis. This is why we should begin informing citizens on the importance of health when they are at kindergarten and continue doing so during their higher education. The information campaign should also include patient organisation, which can add a lot to innovation in this field. They can help us find new solutions, especially in setting up long-distance health services. Here we can use telemedicine and other new services which ensure easy access to health services for all.?
During its six-year long period, the Health for Growth programme will help pool together Member State resources, with the intention of encouraging innovation in healthcare and improving the sustainability of healthcare systems, the health of EU citizens and their protection against cross-border health risks.
?Today we live longer, however life expectancy differs for men and for women. Here women still have the advantage. We must improve conditions for men, as well as for everyone around Europe, so as to balance life expectancy as much as possible. This disparity continues to exist due differences in available healthcare and quality of life. We can also recognise that improving our health offers plenty of opportunities for work, jobs and most importantly, linking health and healthy food. Here is an opportunity for us all,? Mazej Kukovič concluded.