HEPRO survey helps tackling health inequalities in the cities PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 14 May 2012 11:03

Within the years the HEPRO model has been used by a number of cities that are interested in studying the health conditions of their citizens in order to improve their quality of life. One of them is Stavropol in Russia – a member of WHO Healthy Cities network.

Karen Amlaev, the Coordinator of Healthy City Stavropol translated the HEPRO questionnaire into Russian already in 2005, when the first survey was conducted. The results were communicated to the Steering Committee of the city and to the media, and the Health Profile of Stavropol residents was published.

Later, in 2009, Stavropol decided to carry out another study on life quality and health inequality. Also in this case, the HEPRO questionnaire was used.

-       Tackling health inequalities has been on Healthy Cities’ agenda from the start of the program. It represents one of the most challenging and worthy areas of public health actions. – says Mr Amlaev.

Stavropol adapted the HEPRO survey by adding extra questions and by widening the group of the respondents by making sure that the representatives of different social groups are included.

The second survey was conducted in October – November 2009 by undergraduate students from Stavropol State University – Faculty of Clinical Psychology, under the guidance of Professor N.V. Bondarenko, Chair Associate of the Faculty, in partnership with: 1/ Stavropol City Administration – Healthcare Department; 2/ Department of Labour, Social Support and Work; 3/ The Russian Federation Pension Fund Board in the City of Stavropol of Stavropolski kray.

The main objective of the survey was to examine the issue of health inequalities among the residents of Stavropol.

The survey confirmed the fact that the poverty in Stavropol is at the high level. The recent economic downturn has aggregated the problem. According to the European standards, a person is considered poor when he or she spends over 30% of their income on food. The study in Stavropol revealed that nearly 40% of the respondents spend more than a half of their income only on groceries. It fits well with the percentage of people who regularly lack money for the most necessary things (32,7%).

Speaking of health inequality, the results of the survey clearly demonstrated that unemployed, migrants, disabled, widowers and residents of particular underprivileged districts suffer in general from worse health, higher level of stress, lack of physical activity and that their participation in decision-making processes (e.g. election) is lower than average.

The results of the survey were presented to the Steering Committee, authorities and media at the beginning of 2010. Also the publication ‘’Profile of quality of life of vulnerable groups’’ was released. The report included recommendations for improvement of the situation in the city and they were used when working on a strategy to reduce health inequalities.

-       We are now working hard to implement the strategy. After the survey and the report more and more people in different departments of the city are aware of the problem of health inequality. Moreover, we are sharing our experiences with the Kadikoy municipality (Istanbul), which has also adapted the HEPRO questionnaire to their needs and conducted a survey. – says Mr Amlaev.

Read the full report of 2009 Survey here

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