The EU has launched EU4Health 2021-2027, its fourth in line and so far the largest health programme in monetary terms. It will be the source of funding to the member states, health organisations and NGOs.
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The new EU4Health programme entered into force on 26 March and applies retroactively, from 1 January 2021. It will be implemented by a new executive agency, the Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA), starting from 1 April.
The programme budget is over 10 times bigger than the previous health programmes. While initially COVID-driven, its focus is much wider, including general preparedness to public health crises, healthcare systems’ resilience, management of non-communicable diseases such as cancer and diabetes, support of digital innovations in healthcare, and climate action among others.
The main goals of EU4Health are the following:
- Improve and foster health in the EU through prevention, health promotion, addressing health determinants and supporting global initiatives.
- Address serious cross-border health threats enhancing prevention, preparedness and response, including through the new European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA); as well as ensuring proper management of essential products supplies and creating a reserve of medical, healthcare and support staff.
- Enhance the availability, accessibility and affordability of medicinal products, medical devices and crisis-relevant products through their sustainable manufacturing, supply and use.
- Strengthen national health systems by streamlining the implementation of digital tools supported through a European Health Data Space, as well as promoting data sharing and integrated work across the EU national healthcare systems.
The first annual budget amounts to about €316 million. Over the course of seven years, EU4Health will invest €5.1 billion. Of those, not less than 20% are allocated for health promotion and disease prevention; not more than 12.5% each for creating essential supplies stock and supporting global health initiatives; not more than 8% for administrative expenses. Expenditure on climate action should as well see a substantial share of funding.
The funds will be disseminated in the form of grants, prizes and procurement through a number of the relevant EU agencies such as European Medicines Agency, European Centre for Disease Control, or HaDEA. EU4Health resources will also be combined with those of other initiatives like Horizon Europe for health research and innovation or the Digital Europe Programme.
Source and image credit: European Commission