Who we are
The Pillars of Health coalition is an alliance of EU-based organisations that wants to contribute to an equitable geographic distribution of health workers across the European Union (EU), to ensure that all European citizens have equal access to health workers.
In 2021, as part of the Pillars of Health project, lead partner organisation Wemos (the Netherlands) joined forces with the Center for Health Policies and Services (Romania), Media Education Centre (Serbia), and VU Athena (the Netherlands) to identify ways to address the negative effects of excessive health worker migration and recruitment. In 2022, we also started collaborating with partners in Germany and France. Moving forward, we aim to do joint advocacy within a wider coalition.
Together, we aim to influence policy-makers so they actively implement policies that mitigate the negative effects of health worker migration and mobility, and instead contribute to a strong and sustainable health workforce across the EU. We bring together civil society groups, public health experts, human rights defenders, trade unions, academics and researchers who are committed to expanding access to universal public healthcare. Through joint advocacy with civil society, and by using evidence-building, data reviews, knowledge sharing, and high-level political dialogues, we strive to influence relevant policies at EU level and in and between countries.
With our combined expertise and in-depth knowledge of our national contexts, we are able and motivated to move the coalition forward. We are looking for more civil society organisations and other allies to join forces and advocate equitable and well-balanced geographic health worker distribution in the EU. Visit our resources page for (advocacy) knowledge products and other resources. Coming soon
Vision & mission
We envision an EU in which all citizens have equal access to skilled, motivated and supported health workers as part of their right to health and as part of the progress towards Universal Health Coverage.
We aim to contribute to a more equitable and well-balanced geographic distribution of health workers across the European region. We do this by doing joint advocacy and stimulating debate between civil society, policy-makers and other relevant stakeholders on the development and implementation of EU-level tools and measures.
Underlying principles of our work
- Health is a human right. This includes the right to access to skilled and motivated health workers.
- We believe in shared prosperity and solidarity in the EU and its neighbouring countries.
- We believe in health equity and therefore consistently analyse policies through the lens of intersectionality and gender equity.
- We consider believe that health workers are the ‘pillars of health’: they are essential for sustainable and resilient health systems.
- We fully support freedom of mobility for all in the EU.
Center for Health Policies and Services (CHPS) – Romania
The Center for Health Policies and Services (CHPS) focuses on the improvement of the health system functions and outcomes, the encouragement of social dialogue and community participation, the promotion of healthy lifestyles and patient empowerment in Romania, in the European region and beyond.
Through Pillars of Health, we aim to ensure that policy-makers from Romania and at EU-level actively steer the implementation of policies for a strong sustainable health workforce in Romania and across the European region, through sustained and adequate investments, effective recruitment and retention or collaboration strategies between health workers trained in Romania and clinics, medical universities, and in-service training providers from Romania. Our actions are based on the extensive research done in Romania and in countries where health workers trained in Romania live and work today.
Media Education Centre (MEC) – Serbia
Media Education Centre (MEC) is a Serbian non-profit civil society organisation that aims to promote the role of the media in digital, visual, social, peace and information literacy. Within the Pillars of Health project, in collaboration with our partners, we collect relevant data on migration and the current state of health workers in Serbia. We look into the impact of health worker migration on the functioning of healthcare services in Serbia, and into ways to mitigate the potential negative impact of migration. Through research and interviews with stakeholders, we aim to gain a better understanding of factors that influence health workforce migration in Serbia, in order to propose policy measures that address the negative effects of migration and contribute to equitable access to health.
VU Athena Institute – the Netherlands
The Athena Institute at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam believes that science should contribute to a healthy, inclusive and sustainable world. We aim to do so by analysing and integrating diverse stakeholder perspectives and enabling joint action.
In Pillars of Health, the Athena Institute provides support in evidence-building, capacity-building and knowledge translation to inform advocacy on health workforce mobility in Europe. Specifically, the Athena Institute works towards the integration of gender and intersectionality in evidence-building and capacity-building activities. By doing so, the Athena Institute aims to raise awareness on gender issues that contribute to inequity in the health workforce, cross-border collaboration and in health workforce policies and programs, particularly related to migration.
Wemos (lead partner organisation) – the Netherlands
Wemos advocates the right to health for all; access to health services and protection against threats to health. With over 40 years of experience, we have acquired an international reputation for our rights-based and systemic approach to health. We create spaces for dialogue and discussion around global health, addressing underlying power imbalances and bringing in the perspective of those whose voices are not always heard in the global arena. As an independent civil society organisation, we seek to improve public health worldwide, through evidence-building, coalition-building and advocacy activities. We work with (inter)national networks of civil society organisations to reinforce joint messages.
Within Pillars of Health, and as lead partner, Wemos leads the EU-level advocacy activities. Together with our partners and Pillars of Health coalition members, we aim to gather relevant evidence and influence EU-level policy-makers so they implement policy measures that mitigate the negative effects of excessive health worker migration and mobility in the EU.