“Diversity of child health care services in Europe”

to be published in the “EPA-UNEPSA Editorial Series” of the Journal of Pediatrics
(Multi-National collaborative project)

The existing inequalities in the health status of children and adolescents within Europe are unacceptable and therefore should be of common concern to all paediatric societies. However, the health of paediatric patients is rather seldom discussed by others than physicians. Children and adolescents are one of the healthiest populations and thereby measured - compared to the rest of the population - relative cheap for the health system of the country.

The 50 National European Societies and Associations, members of EPA-UNEPSA and their Presidents are invited to actively collaborate to this project which would look into the strengths and weaknesses of the child health care system in Europe, also exploring possible future health plans. Its focus lies on making idiosyncrasies of national health care services in Europe understandable to those pediatricians working in other countries. Understanding why and how child health care services differ from country to country, may open the eyes of all European pediatric care givers and public health experts. Global information and learning across borders are a great opportunity, not necessarily having to result in unifying concepts or in giving up processes that are implemented successfully in another country. Instead, they should aim to avoid those unnecessary processes in child care that, unless abandoned, may be responsible for a poor outcome of child health. Often countries have many distinct regional differences; most significantly between northern and southern as well as eastern and western regions. When it comes to problem solving strategies, pediatricians must be aware of unavoidable cultural and historical differences which may influence the outcome of care. Even when assuming unlimited financial resources, different regional priorities might result in diverging goals.

The Journal of Pediatrics has agreed to support the EPA-UNEPSA initiative of publishing three supplement volumes on diversity of child healthcare in Europe. EPA-UNEPSA will provide the necessary organisational and financial basis for printing the articles from the various European nations. We are confident that EPA-JPED supplements on children’s health care in Europe will be of interest to readers in Europe and beyond. The National Societies and Associations members of EPA-UNEPSA are kindly invited to become co-authors and give their contribution. You can contact the Chief Editor of EPA-UNEPSA, and project coordinator prof. Jochen Ehrich (Ehrich.Jochen@mh-hannover.de).