Young Europeans call for more solidarity and resiliency in healthcare systems

The project Young European Takes on “Healthy Lives and Well-Being for all” of the European Youth Parliament with support from the Wellcome Trust and EIT Health has sought to bring together young people from across Europe with stakeholders to debate today’s pressing topics in the field of health. To this end, nearly 1000 young participants contributed to developing positions that will be shared with decision-makers through the publication of a policy recommendations paper.

The paper centres health as an underpinning and intersectional policy area across all Europe, indispensable for a prosperous future. Clear calls to action are presented based on this youth vision, with particular focus on actions to be taken at the level of EU institutions and European decision-makers.

The recommendations were grouped based on four main pillars of Health Governance, Access and Infectious Diseases, Health Innovations and Mental Health.

The leitmotif of all pillars and youth opinions was the unequivocal support of pursuing Universal Health Coverage as a top priority in all policy decisions, and all subsequent issues should be framed in the context of promoting global social justice and equitable access to quality healthcare. Furthermore, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the general landscape of health policy and emphasised the need for crisis-proof and accountable systems as well as novel solutions.

  • The pillar of Health Governance firmly endorsed greater solidarity amongst Member States, and for the European Commission to promote the WHO as the central entity for advancing global health.
  • The Access & Infectious Diseases pillar strongly supports affordable and equitable allocation of COVID-19 vaccines once developed.
  • The Health Innovations pillar focused on the pivotal role of digital health innovations in future healthcare models, centring the need for safeguarding patients’ data.
  • The Mental Health pillar sought to underscore the importance of reducing stigmatisation towards those living with mental disorders, focusing solutions on preventive interventions rather than curative models.

Young people identified the urgency to make health systems more resilient and capable of handling health challenges, especially in light of the disruptions caused by the current global COVID-19 pandemic and the threats of potential future disruptions. Coordinated efforts are needed to counter the detrimental impact of healthcare disparities on social cohesion, in particular amongst the most vulnerable groups and areas.

Young Europe’s perspectives on the future of health are filled with ambition – let’s work together to realise them!

Read the full text of our policy recommendations paper here.