The EMSA delegation at the 68th WHO Regional Committee for Europe is working hard and supplying you with a report from each day of the meeting. We are presenting to you a summary of Day 1 along with some photos.

0) Opening of the session

In the morning of September 17, the 68th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe was opened with a performance by Choir Giuseppe Verdi di Roma preforming 4 pieces. The 68th session was opened by the executive president of the 67th session. WHO Director General, WHO Regional Director for Europe, Prime Minister of Italy, and HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark addressed all participants, and made remarks on various items on the meetings agenda, such as AMR, Vaccination, Universal Health Coverage, Non-communicative Diseases, Communicative Diseases and Emergencies and Primary Health Care.

 

1) Address by the Regional Director and report on the work of the Regional Office since the 67th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe

WHO Regional Director Zsuzsanna Jakab welcomed all attendees in her official address and shared the report on the work of the Regional Office since the last meeting. She emphasized the importance of multisectoral approach to throughly tackle various health issues and community problems such as noncommunicable diseases, response to communicable diseases and emergencies, the road to Universal Health Care and the question of financial sustainability. She emphasised the importance of funding the health matters, through the words ‘’Health investment is the smartest investment, and it pays off.’’.

She continued the presentation by stating the progress that has been made, and the strength of the WHO Regional Committee in its relations to partners, countries, and other stakeholders, and encouraged the pursuit for stronger partnerships with Non-State Actors. The presentation concluded by explanation of the progress on the items that are on the agenda for this meeting, such as AMR and Vaccination.

 

2) Discussion of the Regional Director’s address and general debate

Member states were given the chance to reflect on the Regional Director’s report on the work of the WHO European Region in 2016-2017. Countries reflected on their work, achievements and problems in the last year in 3-minute long interventions, raising awareness on such important agenda points as Antimicrobial resistance, Tuberculosis, Alcohol consumption, Financing of healthcare and Universal health coverage.

During the debate, the member state representatives informed the committee about the actions taken in their countries and their stance on the report’s contents.

 

3) Technical briefing on measuring health literacy in the European Region

After lunch, the EMSA delegation joined the technical briefing on the topic of “Measuring Health Literacy In Europe”. During this briefing, there was a presentation of the Action Network on Measuring Population and Organizational Health Literacy (M-POHL) that was established under the umbrella of the European Health Information Initiative of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, in February 2018. Speakers included representatives from WHO Europe, OECD, Austrian and German Ministries of Health and Ilona Kickbusch (Director of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies) and they presented the network as well as the launch of a new survey to collect more data on the status of Health Literacy in Europe. This is also one of EMSA’s recommendations outlined in the Health Literacy Policy Paper adopted in the Autumn Assembly 2018, therefore EMSA will support WHO Europe in their initiative. As said in the meeting “Health Literacy is not only about the skills that population has, but it is also about empowering the citizens to be part pf the health care system”.

 

4) Address by the Director-General

The Director General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus addressed the health issues on this year’s agenda, particularly the roadmap to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, building on Health 2020; the Strategy on the health and well-being of men in the WHO European Region and the European Vaccine Action Plan. For the European Region he identified three significant challenges: The urge to achieving universal health coverage celebrating success of the European Region, learning from mistakes and share the message with the world; the urge to collaborate and join efforts to promote and protect health within the region and the urge to fight declining vaccination rates.

 

5) Impact of WHO reform on the work of the WHO European Region

On behalf of the Regional Committee, Dr Bernhard Schwartlander (Chief du Cabinet) and Dr Nedret Emiroğlu (Director of Programme Management) briefly explain the impact of WHO reform and transformation on the work of the region. The reform is based on SDGs mainly and UN Reform. The strategy includes who we are, what we do and most importantly how we will realize the transformation at county level.

The goal of this reform is clear-to make WHO a modern organisation that works seamlessly to make a measurable difference in people’s health at country level.

 

6) Proposed high-level programme budget 2020–2021 for Regional Committee consultations

Mr. Imre Hollo (Director of Planning of Resource Coordination and Performance Monitoring, WHO HQ) and Dr. Nedret Emiroğlu (Director of Programme Management) have presented on the new high-level programme budget 2020-2021 for Regional Committee. They have pointed out that for achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goals, the programme budget was developed using the European Business Model. A sound management of the high-level programme budget is of importance to reach the goals set by WHO Europe such as achieving UHC, promoting healthier populations, addressing health emergencies and, data and innovation.