Policy dialogue proposed during visit of Minister of Health of Latvia to WHO/Europe
Dr Anda Čakša, Minister of Health of Latvia, met Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, on 6 April 2017. Discussions covered the implementation of Health 2020 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the need to address the social determinants of health as well as communicable and noncommunicable diseases.
The Regional Director recognized Latvia as one of the first countries in the WHO European Region to initiate health policy development and work on health systems strengthening, and noted that health indicators in the country are improving. She suggested that holding a policy dialogue in Latvia, in a national or Nordic context, would be useful for reviewing how progress has been achieved and continuing development in the right direction.
Both the Minister and the Regional Director recognized the importance of an appropriate health financing mechanism to reduce out-of-pocket health expenditure by individuals and to promote equity. Minister Čakša explained that she announced a reform plan the previous day encouraging equity; it focuses specifically on nutrition for pregnant women and stopping mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Other areas of discussion included electronic health, with reference to its importance for health information systems; WHO/Europe’s leading role in promoting migrant health; and the challenges of addressing infant and maternal mortality as well as communicable diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS and drug-resistant tuberculosis.