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Health at a Glance: Europe 2020

State of Health in the EU Cycle

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) once again spreading rapidly, and the re-introduction of containment measures to flatten the curve of the epidemic, it is crucial for policymakers to plan effective strategies to re-open their economies to avoid further re-confinements. This should include much more effective testing, tracing and isolation policies that people can easily follow, as well as improved social distancing measures.

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Indicators by theme

COVID-19 resilience

COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak has spread in 2020 to become the most severe pandemic in the last century, testing the resilience of European health systems.

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Air pollution

Impact of air pollution

Air pollution is a major health risk, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths per year. It has substantial welfare and economic impacts because of its effect on mortality, health care costs and productivity.

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Health status

Life expectancy and inequalities

Improvements in life expectancy slowed down markedly in several countries prior to COVID-19, and large health inequalities by gender and socioeconomic status persist.

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Risk Factors

Smoking, alcohol and obesity

Modifiable risk factors to health, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, illicit drug use, unhealthy nutrition, lack of physical activity and obesity, contribute greatly to the burden of non-communicable diseases and premature mortality.

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Quality of Care

Quality of care and patient experience

Progress has been made in tackling life-threatening diseases like cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Promoting patient-centred care has become a growing priority across the EU.

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Access to care

Affordability and availability

Most EU countries have universal health coverage, but the range of services covered and degree of cost-sharing vary. Effective access can be restricted by health workforce shortages, waiting times or geographic barriers.

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Expenditure

Health Spending

Health spending per capita and as a share of GDP varies widely across EU countries, ranging from over 11% of GDP in some countries to less than 6% in others. The COVID-19 pandemic can be expected to increase the health spending share of GDP in most countries in 2020.

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