Over 300 representatives from the 53 Member States in the WHO European Region have met in Moscow, Russian Federation on 13–16 September 2010 for the annual session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe. Hosted by the Government of the Russian Federation, the conference discussed strategies and action plans to tackle public health issues on the national and regional levels.
They were invited also representatives of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Economic Commission for Europe, the Council of Europe, the European Union and NGOs.
All representatives from NGOs had special program on Tuesday in the afternoon – it was meeting with dr Jose M. Martin-Moreno, senior strategic Adviser to the Regional Director and Svenja Herrmann, technical Officer for Partnership and Communication.
Main speakers were: Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General; Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, Tatiana Golikova, Minister of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation; John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy and over 20 health ministers from countries in the European Region. We had also a chance to met Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of Russian Federation as a special guest. All participants were satisfied with the program and statements done during sessions. On first day in the debate all speakers expressed strong support for the vision of WHO, regional Director for Europe.
Zsuzsanna Jacab, WHO Regional Director for Europe presented her vision of health problems and how she will adapt WHO’s work to fill countries needs. Her top priorities:- Across the WHO European Region, even the wealthiest countries are wrestling with the task of adapting to new financial realities to better respond to existing health challenges. Through stronger regional cooperation and increased knowledge sharing, national health systems can be better equipped to tackle the health effects of the economic crisis and the high burden of disease, as well as health emergencies,” says Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. Partnerships for health in the WHO European Region was main issue stressed in the discussion between delegates .
Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation spoke of his Governments’ long term commitment to public health. He demonstrated that they invested 4 times more for public health since 2001. He promised to develop centers for specialist care – for cardiovascular disease, road traffic accident victims and antenatal services. Mr Putin finished with conclusion that all countries should share knowledge of preventing communicable diseases.
All plenary sessions and briefings were open to representatives of NGO s and simultaneous interpretation was provided in English, French, German and Russian. In the afternoon session delegates spoke about cooperation with European Commission and other partners, what means better health for Europe. They told they need not only cooperation between authorities but also between different sectors and people. At the end Margaret Chan, WHO Director – General, said “ If we want to go far, we must work together. If we want to go fast, we go alone”.
Next day Dr Chan spoke of the changing health environment in Europe and the world and said, that health issues can no longer be addressed within the health sector alone. She showed examples in global infant mortality, maternal mortality, and the increasing provision of antiretroviral medicines to those with HIV/AIDS and advised using economic arguments for investing in health. Further authorities from WHO, ministries of health had discussion about European health policy, experiences and health challenges.
Afternoon was important for NGO-s. We had meeting, we presented our interventions and short information about each organization. There were about 20 people there. We had short time but what was nice they asked all NGOs representatives to think about partnership with WHO and some initiatives which could be done together. On 15 September 2010 Hussain A.Gezairy, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, spoke of the catastrophic flooding in Pakistan and its impact on health in the country. He described miserable life of more than 18 million people who are affected by flood. It started cholera, malaria and other vectoborne diseases and malnutrition. As Regional Director for EMRO he thanked European Countries for support and appealed for further resources for Pakistan.
Last day we all delegates received draft of the report of the sixtieth session of WHO Regional Committee for Europe.