Vulnerable populations tend to experience barriers to health-care services and social protection; and face many health inequalities.  

Health Inequalities are the differences in health status between groups of people which are important, unnecessary, unfair, unjust, systematic, and avoidable by reasonable means. They can be observed between populations and groups within populations, and as a gradient. They can also be observed between countries and regions. They are linked to social, economic, and environmental conditions- the conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work and age. These inequalities often mean that the lower social and economic status – or relative disadvantage – of an individual or group in society is connected to lower health status”

EuroHealthNet. Glossary of Public Health Terms – Health Inequalities Portal [cited 6 Apr 2021]

Vulnerable and high-risk groups may include, but are not to be limited to people with chronic illnesses and long-term needs, migrants, the ageing population, people with low socio-economic status, etc. 

Not only do those groups normally have more difficulties in accessing healthcare services and having positive health outcomes, but the Health at a Glance: Europe 2020 report has also reported that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected vulnerable groups. Across EU countries, approximately 90% of death caused by COVID-19 have been among people who are 60 years and older; with an added risk for residents of long-term care (LTC) institutions. In some countries, the deaths among residents in LTC facilities reached over 50% of all reported COVID-18 deaths (1). 

In addition to elderly people and those living in LTC facilities, COVID-19 has exacerbated existing social health inequalities for poorer individuals, those living in deprived areas, ethnic minorities, and immigrants from low- and middle-income countries (1).  

The report named some solutions to improve the health care access and health outcomes of vulnerable groups, but where and how does health management support in bridging that gap and addressing health inequalities? 

Join us at EHMA2021, the preeminent place to share experiences, skills, and competencies in the field of health management.   

1.  OECD/European Union. Health at a Glance: Europe 2020-STATE OF HEALTH IN THE EU CYCLE. 2020.