The second step of the AIR project was to carry out a survey. The aim of the survey was to collect information about all interventions which contribute to the reduction of health inequalities through primary care settings in EU regions, or through policies implemented at national, regional or local levels. 47 questionnaires from 21 European countries were received, resulting in 90 different regional interventions reported. 

Among the questionnaires received, a third responded that they are part of a national strategy dedicated to reducing health inequalities, while 46% of respondents stated that the national health strategy includes reducing health inequalities. A quarter of the regions declared enrollment in a specific regional strategy to reduce health inequalities, and 67% of respondents stated that the regional health strategy includes reducing health inequalities. Education, interventions linked to the age, and targeted interventions for disadvantaged groups are considered the main health determinants that contribute to reducing inequalities in health (78% of answers). 

Regarding actions implemented in the regional strategies, prevention and health promotion are considered the most effective (99%), followed by organization of care (82%), funding (71%), and access to care (67%). 

The results of first questionnaire highlight an increasing awareness at national and regional levels of the evidence of health inequalities, and an increasing willingness to take action at a regional level. Further positive results of the survey are a strong cooperation between different sectors (education and social services), and a positive role for primary care, especially in health promotion. Collecting more than 90 interventions to reduce health inequalities at a regional level could also represent a good proliferation of local and regional initiatives and interventions, reflecting government concern for action. The survey does however highlight a weakness in evaluation actions and impact interventions in reducing inequalities, and difficulties in having a clear and integrated vision between the national and regional levels of the different strategies and results. In conclusion, to reduce the health gap, policy makers and practitioners on one side and researchers on the other have to reduce a first gap between evidence, knowledge and awareness of health inequalities in the health care system.

WP5 - Survey Final report.pdf1.59 MB