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Welcome to the website of the Pre-defined Project Reducing social inequalities in health, co-financed by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism for 2009 – 2014. Read about the background and objectives of the Project. You are also invited to regularly visit the website to find out about the progress in the Project implementation.   

Basis and justification of the Project

The Project is based on the Programme PL13 – Reducing social inequalities in health, implemented within the framework of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism for 2009 – 2014.     It is a donor partnership progamme, implemented in cooperation with the Norwegian Directorate of Health. It’s components are the Pre-defined Project and a number of pilot projects consisting in comprehensive public health interventions implemented on community level (in some districts).

As its general objective the Programme aims at improving the population health in Poland by developing integrated instruments to reduce health inequalities caused by social determinants. This corresponds with the first objective of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism, which is to reduce economic and social inequalities in the European Economic Area.

Furthermore the partnership between Polish Ministry of Health and the Norwegian Directorate of Health will contribute to the achievement of the second objective of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism – strengthening of bilateral relations between Norway and Poland.

In Poland, as in most European countries, the extending average life expectancy is accompanied by the phenomenon of persistent health inequalities caused by social factors. Inequalities in health are linear rather than jumping. This means that they occur not only between the richest and the poorest or the most and least educated – but also between the more and less wealthy, the more and the less educated. These inequalities are caused by many factors occurring at the macro and micro-social level.

Empirical analyses conducted in Poland concerning the social inequalities in health show that differences in anticipated life expectancy between different social groups may reach 12-16 years. Differences of this kind are also found between populations of different territorial units (regions, counties, municipalities), between major cities (such as Warsaw and Łódź) and within cities (for example between different districts of Warsaw).

According to many experts, that kind of persistent inequalities should not be accepted. In recent years the World Health Organization, the European Union and many countries have been undertaking actions to counteract this phenomenon.

Reflection on social inequalities in health in Poland leads to the conclusion that in order to tackle them a comprehensive strategy is needed, including elaboration of tools and strategic documents with recommendations for the future. The implementation of the Pre-defined Project, as an answer to this challenge, will contribute to improving the organization and functioning of public health in Poland.

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