Brussels, 10 May 2006
In 2005 at least one third of the European adult population, 130 million EU citizens, browsed the web in search of information on health. However, searching for health-related information is not always easy. Researchers can be confronted with thousands of sites, many of them complex, and it can be hard to know which are reliable or up to date. To help European citizens answer their health questions, the Commission has today launched the “Health-EU Portal”. The launch event took place in Malaga, Spain, within the Commission-sponsored “eHealth” conference. The Health-EU Portal is a gateway to simple and sound information on 47 topics that range from babies’ health to bio-terrorism, and from infectious diseases to health insurance. It is aimed at citizens, patients, healthcare professionals and scientists alike. Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said: “The Health-EU Portal is a very large project bringing together all EU Member States as well as EFTA nations, international organisations and NGOs. Web surfers will have access to over 40,000 links to trustworthy sources. The translation of the Portal into all 20 official EU languages means that up to 1.5 billion people worldwide can use it to help them to make healthy choices.”
One of the main goals of the Portal is to help people take responsibility for and improve their own health. It provides information on a wide range of health concerns. Forty-seven topics are divided into six thematic areas:
The site is also intended to be an important tool for scientists, policy makers and health professionals. It will provide the latest developments in research and supply links to a large number of specialist websites.
Window to the world
In addition to information from the Commission and its agencies, for example those working on communicable diseases, drug prevention, medicines and health and safety at work, a Member States’ section gives easy access to health and health-related policies of all EU governments. Further sections on European NGOs and international organisations give details of their work. Visitors will also find facts about the latest events, statistics, health indicators, news, legislation and publications.
The €600,000 project is an initiative of the EU Public Health Programme 2003-2008 with financial support from the Interchange of Data between Administrations, which aims to promote greater involvement of the public, institutions, organisations and associations in health. The Portal also corresponds with the aims of the e-Europe Action Plan – providing citizens with simple, clear and scientifically sound information on-line.
An Editorial Board composed of Commission services and Member States representatives will oversee the content development of the Portal using standard procedures.
 EFTA is the European Free Trade Association. Its members are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.