People with high profiles who are interested in health, humanitarian and social issues help WHO/Europe promote public health in the WHO European Region.
Mrs Evelin Ilves, First Lady of Estonia: Champion of Health for Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs)
Through her advocacy, Mrs Ilves promotes breastfeeding, the reduction of childhood obesity and the strengthening of regulation of the marketing of food and beverages to children. Mrs Ilves spoke about the effects of marketing at WHO/Europe’s ministerial conference on NCDs, held in Turkmenistan in December 2013. Her training as a physician gives Mrs Ilves a strong interest in health and a personal commitment to the fight against NCDs.
Mrs Sandra Roelofs, First Lady of Georgia in 2004–2013: advocate for the health-related United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
Mrs Roelofs has participated in a number of national and regional events and activities to advocate the MDGs. Highlights include: launching World AIDS Day on 1 December 2013 in Georgia; giving a video address to representatives of WHO, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) at a meeting on the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and congenital syphilis in June 2013; participating in an international conference on harm reduction in Vilnius, Lithuania, in June 2013; and speaking at a technical consultation on experiences and challenges in prevention of HIV in injecting drug users held in Kazakhstan in April 2012. Mrs Roelofs also addressed representatives attending the 61st session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in 2011.
Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium
Queen Mathilde was WHO Special Representative for Immunization. She opened the 2010 European Immunization Week at a launch event in Brussels, organized with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and UNICEF. In 2012, she visited Albania to meet frontline health care workers, and produced a video on their importance in delivering health care services.