The basis for implementing this Project is “The PL 13 Operational Programme – Reducing social inequalities in health” – within the 2009-2014 Norwegian Financial Mechanism. This donor partnership-based programme, carried out in cooperation with the Norwegian Directorate of Health, comprises the so-called predefined project and pilot projects involving specific actions in the field of public health at the local level, i.e. in selected districts (poviats).
As its general objective, the PL 13 Operational Programme aims to contribute to the betterment of health among the general public in Poland by reducing health inequalities caused by social factors. Thus, the Programme is in line with the first major objective of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism – reducing economic and social disparities in the European Economic Area.
At the same time, through the partnership between the Polish Ministry of Health and the Norwegian Directorate of Health, the second major objective of the NFM will be achieved – the strengthening of bilateral relations between Norway and Poland.
In Poland, as in most European countries, the increasing average life span is accompanied by the fact that inequalities in health, caused by social factors, are not only perpetuating but also increasing. Linear rather than stepwise in nature, these inequalities occur not only between the wealthiest and poorest or the most and least educated populations, but also affect those situated around the economic and educational midlines. Furthermore, health inequalities stem from a number of macro- and micro-social factors.
As results from the analyses conducted in Poland show, the expected average life span can differ across various social groups by up to 12-16 years. Such differences are also true of populations residing in the various territorial units of the country (voivodeships, districts/poviats, communes), major cities (e.g. Warsaw and Łódź), and cities’ administrative units (e.g. Warsaw districts).
As many experts believe that these inequalities still persist, the World Health Organisation, the European Union, and a number of countries, have recently taken steps to counteract them.
According to the analysis of social inequalities in Poland, a comprehensive strategy should be developed in this regard, including tools and strategic documents with recommendations for the future. Deploying the predefined Project in response to this need should contribute to the enhancing of the organisation and functioning of public health in Poland.