Today – on World Health Day and during World Health Worker Week – the Wemos-led European project AHEAD, or ‘Action for Health and Equity Addressing medical Deserts’, officially kicks off. Within this 26 months-long project, Wemos and five civil society partners from Romania, Italy, Serbia, Moldova and the Netherlands will address health worker shortages in isolated or depopulated areas, known as ‘medical deserts’. The project is primarily funded by the European Commission, with co-funding from Open Society Foundations.
Wemos and partners will investigate the different manifestations of such medical deserts and develop context-appropriate policy solutions that will improve health worker availability for all. We will do this via a participatory, inclusive approach at local (community), national (government) and international (EU) policy levels, uniting different stakeholders around the shared challenge of health worker shortages.
26 months, many ambitions
Over the upcoming months, the organisations will work on:
- Country and EU level research policy briefs on the causes, effects and solutions for medical deserts (especially through health workforce reforms).
- An (online) platform for experts to exchange knowledge and insights on medical desertification.
- A guidance document on how to do participatory multi-stakeholder consensus building and policy making.
- And a diagnostic tool for policy makers to identify medical deserts or areas at risk of medical desertification.
Key events will include country level and European level policy dialogue events on policy options to address medical deserts through health workforce reforms.
Policy solutions for Europe’s 21st century health challenges
Wemos’ policy researcher Corinne Hinlopen: “We’re thrilled that the European Commission is dedicating funds for tackling the problem of underserved areas. The AHEAD Project team members are all passionate about people’s right to health and health inequalities in Europe, and enthusiastic to start working on this important theme. We’re confident that we can contribute to policy solutions that will help solve this wicked problem.”
“The European Commission’s commitment to tackle health inequalities and promote equal access to healthcare is of even bigger importance in times of the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Wemos’ programme coordinator Aysel Rahimli. “The AHEAD project takes on the challenge of developing policies using participatory approach, redefining what is meant by medical deserts and providing innovative solutions, fit for the 21st century. As a consortium, we are excited to tackle one of the multi-faceted health challenges in Europe, pushing for health workforce reforms, digital innovations and context specific policy solutions.”
We look forward to an inspiring and fruitful collaboration with our partners:
- Center for Health Policies and Services, Romania
- Cittadinanzattiva, Italy
- Media Education Centre, Serbia
- National School of Public Health Management, Moldova
- VU Athena Institute, The Netherlands
Photo: by Artiom Vallat via Unsplash