Health at a Glance: Europe 2022

State of Health in the EU Cycle

image of Health at a Glance: Europe 2022

The 2022 edition of Health at a Glance: Europe examines the key challenges European countries must address to develop stronger, more resilient health systems following the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes a special focus on how the pandemic has affected young people’s mental and physical health. The report emphasises the need for additional measures to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from scarring a generation of young people. This edition of Health at a Glance: Europe also assesses the pandemic’s disruption of a wide range of health services for non-COVID patients, as well as the policy responses European countries deployed to minimise the adverse consequences of these disruptions. It also addresses a number of important behavioural and environmental risk factors that have a major impact on people’s health and mortality, highlighting the need to put a greater focus on the prevention of both communicable and non-communicable diseases.


Public health laboratory capacity

A resilient health system is able to generate a robust increase in essential services. When a pandemic, epidemic or other infectious disease occurs, identifying, containing and controlling it requires the scale up of laboratory services. This was evident during the COVID‑19 pandemic, with diagnostic testing and genomic sequencing services under stress at the beginning of the pandemic. Genomic surveillance of SARS‑CoV‑2 (the virus that causes COVID‑19) allows detection, monitoring and assessment of new virus variants (ECDC, 2021[1]). When it replicates, SARS‑CoV‑2 can manifest changes in its genome. Scaled up capacity is especially important when mutations are associated with changes in transmissibility or the effectiveness of countermeasures such as vaccines. The cost of sequencing has fallen over time but still requires substantial investment in staff, equipment and bioinformatics infrastructure.



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