Intended for healthcare professionals


Better health and wellbeing for all

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 23 January 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m250
  1. David J Hunter, emeritus professor of health policy and management1,
  2. Richard Alderslade, senior teaching fellow in public health2
  1. 1Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK
  2. 2St George’s University of London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: D Hunter david.hunter2{at}

The challenges facing new WHO leadership in Europe

The imminent change of leadership at the top of the World Health Organization’s European region gives member states an important opportunity to extend policy making on health and wellbeing for all. Hans Kluge takes over as European regional director from Zsuzsanna Jakab in early February, having been elected last September by a large majority of member states. This makes it an opportune time to take stock and consider what has been achieved and what more needs to be done under new leadership.

Health has improved across the WHO European region, but not everywhere and not equally. For example, life expectancy varies between 70 and 83.1 years across countries.1 The region faces many challenges, including a high burden of non-communicable diseases; the increasing prevalence of mental health problems; health effects of climate change; inequitable access to, and affordability of, care and medicines; increasing migration; shortages of healthcare workers; and poor progress in realising the opportunities in digital health.

Dealing with these challenges requires …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription