5.75 billion

Strengthening health systems and capacities to respond to health threats

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DG / Responsible Agencies / National Contact Points:SAINT | HADEA | NCP 1 | NCP 2

Potential beneficiaries

International organizations active in the health sector, national institutions, organizations and companies active in the medical, health, hospital and pharmaceutical sectors.

Description and objectives

The Covid-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented health crisis, revealed the fragility of national health systems and health disparities between population groups, member states and regions, and demonstrated the importance of coordination among European countries to protect people’s health.

EU4Health supports and complements national health policies, maximizing synergies and the added value of the EU’s contribution. It is the largest EU health program to date.

It pursues four general objectives, broken down into ten specific objectives, which summarize the ambitions of the program:

  1. Improving and promoting health in the Union 1) prevent disease and promote health; 2) promote international health initiatives and cooperation;
  2. Protect people from serious cross-border health threats: 3) prevent, prepare for, and respond to cross-border health threats; 4) complement national stockpiling of essential products relevant to health crises; 5) establish a reserve of medical, health and support personnel;

III. Improve access to medicines, medical devices, products relevant to health crises:6) Improve the availability and accessibility of medicines, medical devices and products relevant to health crises;

  1. Strengthening health systems:7) Strengthen the availability of health data, digital tools and services, and the digital transformation of health care;8) Improving access to health care;9) Develop and implement EU health legislation and evidence-based decision-making;10) Promote integrated work among member states’ health systems.

EU4Health applies, where relevant, the “One Health” approach, recognizing that human health is linked to animal health and the environment.

Types of actions and projects

Responding to the complexity of health issues, EU4Health will support a wide range of actions and initiatives under four main “strands”: crisis preparedness; disease prevention; health systems and workforce; and digital. Cancer prevention and control will be an important cross-cutting theme from these four strands.

Thus, the Program will promote interventions aimed at:

  • Prevent disease and promote health;
  • Promote international health cooperation;
  • Prevent, prepare for, and respond to cross-border health threats;
  • Integrate national storage of essential products relevant to the crisis;
  • Establish a reserve of medical, health and support staff;
  • Make medicines, medical devices, and crisis-relevant products more available and affordable;
  • Contribute to the digitization of health care and equal access to health care;
  • Support evidence-based decision making.


EU4Health is a new program, the nature and scope of which are a response to the challenges highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. It builds on the positive results of the Health Program from the previous programming period, many actions of which it carries forward (strengthening crisis preparedness; support for the Europe Action Plan against Cancer; support for the Pharmaceuticals Strategy).

Compared to its predecessor, EU4Health has a much broader level of investment and scope.