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European Ministers Sign Groundbreaking Charter on Health System
Date:6/27/2008

TALLINN, Estonia and COPENHAGEN, June 27 /PRNewswire/ --

- New Charter Brings Equity, Performance and Accountability to Health Sector

Ministers of health from 53 countries (1), which make the WHO European Region, today signed a new charter on health systems, committing themselves to concrete and measurable action on strengthening health systems that will allow both their own people and the international community to hold them to account.

Observing that all countries have pockets of people who miss out on quality health care, the charter stresses that strong health systems must be put in place to remove barriers, such as insufficient access, costs and lack of information, to ensure coverage across the board. The charter declares: "Today, it is unacceptable that people become poor as a result of ill-health." "We, the Member States, commit ourselves to promote shared values of solidarity, equity and participation through health policies and resource allocation, and to ensure attention is paid to the needs of the poor and other vulnerable groups."

WHO estimates that, each year, health expenses cause 150 million people to suffer financial catastrophe and push 100 million below the poverty line.

"Health is the right of everyone and it has value in itself. It is in the interest of all governments to invest into the health of their populations, as improving the health of the population makes a material contribution to the wealth of the nation," said Dr Marc Danzon, WHO Regional Director for Europe, at the charter-signing ceremony today.

"I am personally thrilled by the value system so clearly evident in the Tallinn charter," said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan addressing the Conference. "As we now know, cash, commitment and commodities cannot boost adequate progress in the absence of delivery systems that reach those in great need, on and adequate scale, in time," she said.

The charter details key actions needed to
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SOURCE World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe
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