Experts, government officials and representatives of professional associations from over 35 countries united for a workshop on integrated delivery of health and social services for older people. There, experts called for more evidence on healthy ageing to move forward with the long-term agenda, and pointed to the crucial role of an integrated approach. The event, entitled “Leapfrogging the integration of long-term care for older people in the WHO European Region: getting it right, fast”, took place from 11 to 13 December 2018 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. It aimed to review trends in long-term care reforms in Europe, and to discuss the preliminary results of the assessment of integrated delivery of the health and social sectors of long-term care systems. Country representatives also presented policy innovations and best practices.
Experts called for the responsible use of medicines and the reduction of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) during a consultation held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, from 30 October to 1 November 2018. Focusing on the role of primary health care in this area, the event gathered participants from 15 countries. They included managers involved in primary health-care reforms, officers in charge of pharmaceuticals and promoting the responsible use of medicines, experts on medicine safety, and other professionals who are currently or potentially could be promoting prescription-only dispensing of antibiotics.
Two days prior to the Global Conference on Primary Health Care held in Astana, health professionals, researchers, managers and experts from the WHO European Region gathered in Almaty to explore the multiple facets of primary health care. This scientific conference took stock of achievements during the 4 decades since the Declaration of Alma-Ata and explored linkages between the 4 spheres of policy, research, education and practice in primary health care.
On 12 September 1978 the landmark Declaration of Alma-Ata on primary health care was signed at the International Conference on Primary Health Care. The Conference, held in the city of Almaty at the Palace of the Republic, was the first of its kind to commit governments, health and development workers, and the global community to protect and promote the health of the world’s population through a primary health-care approach. On the occasion of this 40th anniversary, the WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care together with national and city officials and representatives of United Nations agencies, development partners, allied universities and professional associations celebrated this important anniversary.
To enhance the role of the media in promoting primary health care, WHO data specialists, health economists and researchers delivered a 2-day workshop to 22 journalists and media experts from 5 countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation and Tajikistan. The training took place on 23–24 August 2018 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care organized the event in the lead-up to the Global Conference on Primary Health Care, to be held on 25–26 October 2018 in Astana, Kazakhstan.
In order to increase transparency and public accountability, selecting appropriate dimensions for measuring PHC performance remains pivotal to creating systems that enable the development of conditions for improving health, while tackling the social determinants of health upstream. No consensus currently exists, however, on which PHC performance dimensions should be included, rendering assessments partial, context-dependent and unable to be used for comparison purposes. To expand the reflection process to other countries, the WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care of the Division of Health Systems and Public Health organized a workshop on “PHC performance in the context of changing health needs” on 30 March 2017. Representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine joined NDPHS delegates at the event to discuss first-hand experiences of measuring PHC performance to inform policies at local, regional and national levels.
Global policies have recognized quality as essential being to the pursuit of universal health coverage, target 3.8 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Quality is not a static concept, however.
The concept of quality of care has evolved over the past two decades from a notion of human error and negligence to an understanding that it arises as a result of well performing health systems. Over time, multiple approaches have contributed to the quality-of-care discourse and the recognition of its importance to improving health outcomes.
The WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care (WECPHC) of the Division of Health Systems and Public Health hosted a first brainstorming, review and planning exercise for rejuvenating quality of care in the context of the SDG agenda on 3–6 April. Country delegations from Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Ukraine, experts and WHO staff participated.
On 23 April 2017, the City of Almaty – a new member of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network – took to the streets, with over 12 000 runners participating in the city’s sixth annual marathon. This initiative is well aligned with Kazakhstan’s ‘Densaulyk’ state programme, which prioritizes an enabling environment for the preservation and promotion of health. For the first time at their new local premises, a team of staff from the WHO European Centre for Primary Health joined the race.
Following its appointment as WHO Collaborating Centre for Quality and Equity in Primary Health Care Systems, the Healthcare Services and Systems Research Unit of the Department of Public Health at the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam and the WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care have embarked on a series of evidence-generating activities to support the implementation of the European Framework for Action on Integrated Health Services Delivery approved at the 66th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in September 2016.
Experts convened in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on 20–21 June 2017 for the inaugural meeting of the Primary Health Care Advisory Group. The WHO Regional Director for Europe launched the Advisory Group to advance primary health care in the WHO European Region. At its first meeting, the Advisory Group engaged in discussions on the readiness and responsiveness of primary health care to embrace future health and social needs.
Since 2016, WHO has collaborated with the Government of Kazakhstan in implementing a series of initiatives to improve patient centredness, including a series of workshops on patient-centred communication. The workshops have been organized in the Kyzylorda and Mangystau oblasts, including the six rayons of Karmakshy, Zhalagash, Syrdarya, Zhanaozen, Karakiya and Munaily. The WHO Country Office in Kazakhstan and the WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care engaged experts from Saint Louis University and Columbia University to provide these workshops.
Integrating primary care with public health, social and hospital care is crucial to putting people at the centre of health-care systems. Member States unanimously endorsed the European Framework for Action on Integrated Health Services Delivery (EFFA IHSD) in 2016. To advance its implementation, delegates from nearly 30 European countries and experts from around the world convened in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on 22–23 June 2017.
Health officials from regional health institutions and public health councils in Kazakhstan met with senior managers from arm’s-length institutions in a 1-day workshop in Astana. The workshop took place in the context of policy and institutional reforms working to instil a population health management approach for public health services.
Kazakhstan has a dedicated centre leading efforts to develop eHealth, including linking more than 20 databases into a single operational platform. Twelve health policy-makers from Kazakhstan visited the pioneer regions of Veneto (Italy) and Catalonia (Spain) to learn about the potential of using individual and population-wide databases to design integrated health services.The study visit took place on 3–7 July 2017 as a result of a joint effort between the WHO Country Office in Kazakhstan and three WHO centres of excellence – the WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the WHO Barcelona Office for Health Systems Strengthening in Barcelona, Spain and the WHO European Office for Investment for Health and Development in Venice, Italy – in addition to the Veneto Region and the Catalan regional health authorities.
Teams from the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD Office), based in Moscow, Russian Federation, and the WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care (WECPHC), based in Almaty, Kazakhstan, met in Moscow in September to share experiences and brainstorm ways to enhance the monitoring of health services delivery in the WHO European Region. The collaboration between the 2 offices aims to strengthen availability of data for policy, planning and research on services delivery across the Region, while capitalizing on existing surveillance infrastructure and expertise.
On 24 November 2017, teams from Kazakhstan’s Republican Centre for Health Development and Republican E-Health Centre of the Ministry of Health, together with representatives of the WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care (WECPHC), attended a practical 1-day workshop to plan the process of pre-testing indicators for monitoring health services delivery as part of the implementation of the European Framework for Action on Integrated Health Services Delivery.
During a hands-on training from 1 to 2 September in Aktau, Mangystau region, Oblast Health Department officials and local health facilities directors and managers discussed and practised areas for strategically guiding the work of their health facilities. This stepwise approach was developed in line with the "Densaulyk" National Health Strategy of Kazakhstan and the WHO European Framework for Action on Integrated Health Services Delivery. The workshop was organized by the WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care in Almaty.
On November 17th, the WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care in Almaty, Kazakhstan, launched the first of a series of lectures aimed at strengthening the links between public health and primary care. The Centre intends to equip doctorate and master students of the Kazakhstan School of Public Health – KSPH, in Almaty, with a global health perspective to population-based interventions and how these complement individual services before their placement in key positions across the country.
On 7 December 2016, a national conference took place in Almaty, Kazakhstan, to reflect on possible organizational models of primary health care in the country. The event also served as a platform to discuss lessons emerged from implementing innovative approaches to strengthening primary health care in the WHO European Region, and to showcase first-hand experience in Kazakhstan.