EMHF works on a variety of projects with a range of stakeholders to improve the health of men and boys in Europe. The current priority is a project on Primary Care: Improving Men’s Access and Outcomes. EMHF is also supporting a new initiative, Global Action on Men’s Health (GAMH).
Primary Care: Improving Men’s Access and Outcomes
Primary healthcare services are central to strategies to improve men’s health in terms of prevention, early diagnosis and treatment. Currently, however, primary care services (general practice, dentists, pharmacy, optometry, nursing and others) are under-used by men with adverse impacts on their health, their families and communities, employers and health budgets.
There is consistent evidence that men of different ages, ethnicities and social backgrounds access health services less frequently than women. It has been suggested that men’s lower contact rates with primary care services are linked to higher hospitalisation rates and that, when they do use primary care, men tend to ask fewer questions and GP consultation times are shorter than for women. Men are also less likely to make use of preventative health checks, including for oral health and eyesight, and screening (e.g. for bowel cancer).
In 2013, EMHF began a work programme which will lead to improvements in men’s use of primary care services. The first stage was a Roundtable meeting in Brussels in June 2013 which brought together a wide range of organisations representing every area of primary care to learn from their expertise and experience and to determine how best to tackle the problems.
The report, Men’s Health and Primary Care: Improving access and outcomes, summarises the discussions at the Roundtable and will be used to inform and guide EMHF’s work as well as for further consultations with other organisations in Europe.
The issues covered at the Brussels Roundtable were also considered in an article, Men and primary care: improving access and outcomes, published in the journal Trends in Urology and Men’s Health (September/October 2013). A second article, Men and Primary Care: Improving Access and Outcomes, was published in Eurohealth (March 2014) and a third, A step into no man’s land, in Practice Management (February 2016).
In October 2013, EMHF held a workshop at EHF Gastein to discuss the findings of the Brussels Roundtable. The report, A Step Into No Man’s Land: Improving men’s use of primary care services in Europe, presents the conclusions of that event.
EMHF plans to hold roundtables on men’s use of primary care services in a range of individual countries over the next few years. The first national roundtable meeting, for England, took place in London on 2 July 2014. The report of this event can be viewed here. The second roundtable, for Northern Ireland, was held in Belfast on 12 November 2014 and the report of this event can be viewed here. The third roundtable in the series took place in Gibraltar on 19 May 2015; the report of this event can be viewed here. EMHF’s report on its roundtable on men’s use of primary care in Denmark, held on 28 October 2015, can be viewed here.
The next roundtables will be held in Sweden and Ireland in 2016.
As part of this work programme, EMHF has also produced a report on how men’s use of over-the-counter medicines can be improved. This report, Men’s Health: An untapped OTC market, can be viewed here.
Global Action on Men’s Health (GAMH)
EMHF took the lead in establishing GAMH. This new initiative aims to tackle the unnecessarily poor health of men throughout the world. Globally, while the gap between male and female life expectancy and healthy life expectancy has widened in the last 40 years, global public health organisations have not identified this as an issue or taken any significant steps to address the problem. Men are almost entirely absent from global public health policy.
- Encourage the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other international agencies involved in public health to develop research, policies and strategies on men’s health
- Urge individual states and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to implement measures to tackle men’s health problems
- Provide guidance on how to take effective action on men’s health
- GAMH will act as a focal point for a new network of men’s health and other organisations around the world that support its aims and objectives.
GAMH was publicly launched on 9 June 2014. For more information: www.gamh.org.
EMHF President, Ian Banks, contributed to an article on global men’s health issues which was published in the WHO Bulletin in August 2014.