The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in central Europe with a population of over 10 million inhabitants. The Czech Republic possesses a developed high-income economy with a GDP per capita of 80% of the European Union average. It has been undergoing significant macroeconomic reforms since 1993, when Czechoslovakia split into two countries. Health inequalities are a relatively new subject on the political agenda because during the previous political system the issue was not recognized. This has left a legacy in how the public perceives health inequalities. A lower proportion of the population in the Czech Republic consider themselves to be in good health (61%) compared to the EU average (67%). As in other EU countries, there are large disparities in self-rated health by socioeconomic status: 80% of people in the highest income quintile population report being in good health compared with 48% of the population in the lowest income quintile.
The issue of health inequalities has been researched in academic circles and the publication of WHO Health for All document led to increased interest in the subject matter. However, inequalities persist as populations with a lower socioeconomic status or education have a higher prevalence of behavioural risk factors. For example, the population with the lowest level of education is more than twice as likely to smoke on a daily basis and nearly twice as likely to be obese as the highest-educated population. A higher prevalence of risk factors among disadvantaged groups contributes to differences in health status between socioeconomic groups and regions
In 2004 the Czech Republic joined the EU and since then, largely thanks to EU policy and pressure, the social determinants of health inequalities are now being discussed in political documents, in research and in university curricula. However, to date, there is still very little evidence of this translating into practice.
In the Czech Republic the issue of health inequalities has not been afforded high priority on the political agenda. The public health system has expanded its role over the last five years and now holds responsibility for non-communicable diseases. However, work to tackle the high prevalence of risk factors is still in its infancy. Tobacco control legislation has been strengthened, but programmes targeting alcohol consumption and rising obesity have yet to prove effective. There is a need for more focus on health inequalities. An ageing health workforce and doctor preferences pose increasing challenges to service provision and may heighten regional inequalities. In addition, care for chronically ill patients is poorly coordinated and inefficient because long term care is split between health and social care settings.
An overview of policy responses addressing health inequalities in can be found in our Policy Database.
An overview of projects and initiatives that are currently taking place or that have successfully been finalized, and that are addressing health inequality issues, can be found in our Project Database.
Please find below an overview of key actors in Czech Republic working on health inequality issues:
Are you aware of any other key actors that should be added to this list?
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Please find below an overview of relevant documents addressing health inequality issues in Czech Republic. Further publications can be found in our Publications Database.
- Národní zpráva o strategiích sociální ochrany a sociálního začleňování – National Report on strategies for social protection and social inclusion 2008-2010. Document from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs providing an overview of the current situation, national action plan for social inclusion, national strategy for pensions, national strategy for health care and long term care.
- Nerovnosti ve zdraví – Health Inequalities. Web page of National Institute of Public Health including information on ongoing projects, documents, presentations and events.
- Zdraví menšin – Health of minorities. National Institute of Public health web page with information, documents, reports, events on the topic.
- Akční plán realizace Koncepce včasné péče o děti ze sociálně znevýhodňujícího prostředí – Action plan for early care for children from socially disadvantaged environment (2009).
- Statistic, indicators and survey results published regularly by the Institute of Health Information and Statistic of the Czech Republic
Are you aware of any other key resources that should be added to this list?
Please let us know!