Publication: Interventions addressing health inequalities in European regions: the AIR project.
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Disparities in health between social groups have been documented all over Europe. We summarize the methods and results of the Addressing Inequalities in Regions (AIR) project, which identified illustrative interventions and policies developed in European regions to reduce inequalities at the primary health care level. The first phase was a systematic review of the published literature. The second phase was a survey of European regions, collecting information on policies aiming at reducing health inequalities through primary health care and identifying regional, innovative and evaluated interventions. The third phase assessed interventions through methods defined by a formal consensus, and selected illustrative practices considered good practices for several of nine evaluation criteria. The review included 98 evaluations of interventions and 10 reviews; 80% of interventions were from North-America. Three main pathways to reduce health inequalities were identified: providing health promotion, improving financial access to care and modifying care provision. The first survey identified 90 interventions. Most national strategies included health inequalities issues. Education was the most frequently identified targeted determinant. Most interventions were health promotion general or targeted at specific health determinants, conditions or groups. The second survey assessed 46 interventions. Many involved the population in planning, implementation and evaluation. We also identified the multidisciplinary of interventions, and some who had an impact on empowerment of the targeted population. The AIR project documented that policies and actions can be implemented at the regional level through primary care providers. Policies and interventions are seldom evaluated.
health inequalities, primary health care, programme evaluation, socioeconomic factors