With the Structural Funds (SF) representing over a third of the EUs budget, an interesting question arises; if we could get health more intertwined with Structural Funds investments and projects, what health benefits could be gained?

Health Gain does not refer to using health interventions and health money to achieve health outcomes, but rather Health Gain is when a SF project is led by another sector – such as an infrastructure project led by for instance, the transport sector – and – the aim of Health Gain is to add another layer on the SF programming/planning process and work toward improving population health.

Health Gain is not aiming at stopping investments in other areas, but the aim is to inform and empower structural fund managers and other regional officials not working with health; creating a mind-set in the planning stage where health is to be naturally considered in their everyday work, encouraging them to better target the specific health challenges, in the respective region.

Investing in the knowledge economy – South Netherlands – is a good example of how intertwining economic growth and health through structural fund investments, may lead to Health Gains. Click here to read the full case study.

Anna Beling Student, MSc in European Public Health, Maastricht University