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Sinn Féin call for Executive to tackle Health Inequalities as MEP participates in European conference

20 June, 2007

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson, Carál Ní Chuilín MLA has welcomed the participation of her party colleague Bairbre de Brun MEP at today's major conference in the European Parliament, Strasbourg dealing with health inequalities.

The conference entitled Health Inequalities: Who Does What? A Role for Europe will look at the social determinants of health and will search for new common approaches and strategies to tackle health inequalities in the countries of the European Union. and beyond.

Carál Ní Chuilín MLA said:

" I commend Bairbre de Brún MEP's ongoing commitment to alleviate health inequalities both at home and across the European Union. Bairbre's participation at today's conference in Strasbourg follows on from the good work she carried out as Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety in the previous Executive when she launched the Investing for Health strategy.

"Bairbre's continued commitment to the Investing for Health goals needs to be matched by a renewed commitment on the part of the incoming Executive to seriously tackle the social determinants of Health. If we are serious about tackling health inequalities all ministers need to be working together across departments."

Speaking in advance of the conference in Brussels, Bairbre de Brún MEP said:

"Poverty is a key factor in ill-health. Poor people get sicker and die earlier than those who are better off in society. The poorer you are the less you will have to spend on the sources of health such as good food and adequate housing. Those less well off will be in more precarious employment if they are lucky enough to have a job at all and their children are less likely to get the educational achievements that hold the key to getting out of the poverty trap. In spite of all this, health policies still place a major focus on treating disease and far less on social factors.

"Today's important meeting will involve a range of actors who are dealing with health inequalities and will include the World Health Organisation, the European Commission, Save the Children and MEPs from across the political spectrum." ENDS

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