Scenarios for population health inequalities in 2030 in Europe: the EURO-HEALTHY project experience

António Alvarenga, Carlos A. Bana E Costa, Carme Borrell, Pedro Lopes Ferreira, Ângela Freitas, Liliana Freitas, Mónica D. Oliveira, Teresa C. Rodrigues, Paula Santana, Maria Lopes Santos, Ana C.L. Vieira

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background: Health inequalities have been consistently reported across and within European countries and continue to pose major challenges to policy-making. The development of scenarios regarding what could affect population health (PH) inequalities across Europe in the future is considered critical. Scenarios can help policy-makers prepare and better cope with fast evolving challenges. Objective: This paper describes the three 2030 time-horizon scenarios developed under the EURO-HEALTHY project, depicting the key factors that may affect the evolution of PH inequalities across European regions. Methods: A three-stage socio-technical approach was applied: i) identification of drivers (key factors expected to affect the evolution of PH inequalities across European regions until 2030) - this stage engaged in a Web-Delphi process a multidisciplinary panel of 51 experts and other stakeholders representing the different perspectives regarding PH inequalities; ii) generation of scenario structures - different drivers' configurations (i.e. their hypotheses for evolution) were organized into coherent scenario structures using the Extreme-World Method; and iii) validation of scenario structures and generation of scenario narratives. Stages ii) and iii) were conducted in two workshops with a strategic group of 13 experts with a wide view about PH inequalities. The scenario narratives were elaborated with the participants' insights from both the Web-Delphi process and the two workshops, together with the use of evidence (both current and future-oriented) on the different areas within the PH domain. Results: Three scenarios were developed for the evolution of PH inequalities in Europe until 2030: 'Failing Europe' (worst-case but plausible picture of the future), 'Sustainable Prosperity' (best-case but plausible picture of the future), and an interim scenario 'Being Stuck' depicting a 'to the best of our knowledge' evolution. These scenarios show the extent to which a combination of Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental drivers shape future health inequalities, providing information for European policy-makers to reflect upon whether and how to design robust policy solutions to tackle PH inequalities. Conclusions: The EURO-HEALTHY scenarios were designed to inform both policy design and appraisal. They broaden the scope, create awareness and generate insights regarding the evolution of PH inequalities across European regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100
JournalInternational Journal for Equity in Health
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Delphi method
  • Foresight
  • Health inequalities
  • Participatory approach
  • Policies
  • Population Health
  • Scenarios
  • Socio-technical approach
  • Stakeholders

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