Joining forces for health care
Eight million inhabitants living in ten border regions across four countries: this is the area supported by the Hungary-Slovakia-Romania-Ukraine (HSRU) ENI CBC Programme, a largely rural environment, where a decreasing, aging population is troubled by a higher unemployment rate and a lower economic performance compared to the national averages. In border regions, people health status is in general less favourable than in central ones, particularly for the most impoverished categories. Socioeconomically precarious citizens are always the most vulnerable, but a big segment of the population at large does not lead a health-conscious lifestyle, neither seems aware of the role of prevention. All the more reason to invest in the development of health infrastructure, services, trainings programmes, prevention activities, general public awareness. That is why – when the 2014-2020 programming cycle started – the territorial cooperation between European countries and their neighbours decided to put the health care of inhabitants from the border regions among its priorities. It was crucial to devote cooperation efforts to improve the availability and level of health services and preventive activities, and since 2014 “we have supported the implementation of health projects with 12,3 million € – says Nikoletta Horvàth, deputy head of the programme’s Managing Authority – which represent close to 20% of the total available funds”.