The development of a strategy for tackling health inequalities in the Netherlands.
Over the past decade, the Dutch government has pursued a research-based approach to tackle socioeconomic inequalities in health. We report on the most recent phase in this approach: the development of a strategy to reduce health inequalities in the Netherlands by an independent committee. In addition, we will reflect on the way the report of this committee has influenced health policy and practice.A 6-year research and development program was conducted which covered a number of different policy options and consisted of 12 intervention studies. The study results were discussed with experts and policy makers. A government advisory committee developed a comprehensive strategy that intends to reduce socioeconomic inequalities in disability-free life expectancy by 25% in 2020. The strategy covers 4 different entry-points for reducing socioeconomic inequalities in health, contains 26 specific recommendations, and includes 11 quantitative policy targets. Further research and development efforts are also recommended.Although the Dutch approach has been influenced by similar efforts in other European countries, particularly the United Kingdom and Sweden, it is unique in terms of its emphasis on building a systematic evidence-base for interventions and policies to reduce health inequalities. Both researchers and policy-makers were involved in the process, and there are clear indications that some of the recommendations are being adopted by health policy-makers and health care practice, although more so at the local than at the national level.
|Persistent URL||dx.doi.org/10.1186/1475-9276-3-11, hdl.handle.net/1765/13523|
Mackenbach, J.P., & Stronks, K.. (2004). The development of a strategy for tackling health inequalities in the Netherlands.. International Journal for Equity in Health, 3. doi:10.1186/1475-9276-3-11