The Liubljana statement calling for political engagement to reduce inequalities in health

The Liubljana statement calling for political engagement to reduce inequalities in health

OAFI Foundation together with more than 30 European institutions signed the Ljubljana Statement on political engagement to reduce inequalities in health.

The document set up by European Union Public Health Association and the Slovenian National Institute of Public Health, and presented in Ljubljana at the European Public Health Conference, reiterate the commitment of its signers to the principle of the Alma Ata Declaration (1978), the first international declaration underlining the importance of primary health care and expressing the need for urgent action by all governments, all health and development workers, and the world community to protect and promote the health of all people. Also, the commitment to the Ottawa Charter (1986), the Tallinn Charter (2008); and the Vienna Declaration (2016) was restated.

The Ljubljana statement highlights the need for all actors engaged in public health policy in Europe and beyond, to commit to:

– Leaving no one behind: by decreasing health inequalities in and between countries, ensuring universal access to health care and by strengthening health systems. This is only possible if health care is accessible for all and health systems are strong and resilient.

Voicing knowledge: by ensuring that health data is both scientifically sound and widely available. Modern communication technology offers great potential for public health to renew and improve its approach to the public and to individual population groups – not at least those who were somehow left behind and excluded from existing preventive and health promotion programmes.

Translating evidence to politics: by taking into account the political dimension of the work of the public health community. Evidence alone will not bring about behavior change. What is needed is a political commitment to bring about change.

Building capacity: by investing to remove health literacy barriers and by promoting and facilitating health literacy of each and every individual. It is crucial to take on an active role by introducing modern communication tools in public health and by including all determinants touching upon public health.

Including Health in all policies: by strengthening intersectoral collaboration. All sectors involved in health or touching upon health should work together. All levels of decision-making have to include: civilian, local authority, national and international authorities. Only if we have the political and communication skills, we can contribute to better living conditions.

In OAFI we believe that political commitment is key to change and ameliorate health management and improve health for all. We aim to improve osteoarthritis patient’s health and wellbeing and raise awareness on osteoarthritis, a non-communicable disease that is often forgotten in the big debate.

Osteoarthritis affects mainly elderlies and women (worldwide estimates indicate that 9.6% of men and 18% of women >60 years have symptomatic OA1) (but not only these two groups), two vulnerable groups within our societies which are hard hit by this chronic disease. The support of the society and the environments in which a patient lives can deeply influence the way to face the disease and the healing process. Recent studies demonstrate that the socioeconomic and educational level of osteoarthritic patients has an impact on their health and healing process.

For all the mentioned reasons the OAFI signed the Ljubljana statement calling for political engagement to reduce inequalities in health and continuously run initiative, programs, and researches where the osteoarthritic patient is in the center regardless the age, economic and social status.


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  1. Wolf AD, Pfleger B. Burden of Major Musculoskeletal Conditions. Policy and Practice. Special Theme-Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2003, 81 (9): 646-656.