National Action Plan to reduce health inequalities 2008–2011

Author(s): Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finland
Publication date: 2008
Number of pages: 78 p
Language: English


".....The National Action Plan to Reduce Health Inequalities outlines proposals for strategic policy definitions and the most important measures to reduce socioeconomic health inequalities in Finland. A separate action plan was deemed necessary since inequalities persist despite the efforts undertaken through health and social policy. Narrowing health gaps has been the objective of Finnish health policy since the 1980s. This objective has not been achieved, however, and the inequalities have partly even grown.

The National Action Plan to Reduce Health Inequalities is closely linked with the Government’s Health Promotion Policy Programme. The Action Plan will also for its part implement the aim of the national “Health 2015” programme to reduce mortality differences by a fifth by 2015.

To pursue the objective of reduction in health inequalities, the Action Plan mainly operates in the following three priority areas:

  • Social policy measures: improving income security and education, and decreasing unemployment and poor housing
  • Strengthening the prerequisites for healthy lifestyles: measures to promote healthy behaviour of the whole population with special attention to disadvantaged groups where unhealthy behaviour is common
  • Improving the availability and good quality of social and health care services for everyone.

To pursue these goals and monitor the attainment of them, reliable knowledge base and effective communication are needed. For this purpose,

  • a follow-up system for health inequalities is developed
  • knowledge about the scope of and trends in health inequalities is strengthened
  • education and communication concerning health inequalities and their reduction is advanced....'