Through the European Social Charter, the Council of Europe encourages the member states to introduce disease prevention policies and provide their citizens with a healthy environment. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe therefore has a duty to initiate a discussion of the major challenges posed by preventive health care policies.
At its meeting on 8 November 2007 the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee held an exchange of views with the representatives of the health group from the INGOs enjoying participatory status with the Council of Europe, who stressed the need to set up a preventive health care system in Europe.
In view of the gaps in Europe’s health care systems, the Assembly should look into the question of a real preventive health care policy, informed by a modern and broader definition of health denoting a state of physical, mental, social and environmental well-being.
Epidemiological studies should also be carried out to identify the factors determining diseases and above all the effectiveness and cost of preventive health care activities.
Lastly, placing preventive health care in a broader context, closer attention should be paid to education for health from the earliest years and to the contribution of INGOs.
Clearly, therefore, a comprehensive review of preventive health care systems is called for.