World Health Day 2015: countries across Europe promote food safety
World Health Day 2015 was an opportunity to recognize the important food safety role of all involved in food production, and to strengthen collaboration and coordination between these different areas to prevent, detect and respond to foodborne diseases.
Member States took the opportunity to mark the occasion through a series of events, supported by WHO country offices and partner organizations, to highlight the ongoing problem of foodborne diseases in the WHO European Region.
Albania hosted a national intersectoral workshop in Tirana to support World Health Day 2015. Speakers from the Institute of Public Health and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) promoted and endorsed the theme of food safety. Three schools discussed the World Health Day theme – From farm to plate: make food safe. WHO and EFSA were interviewed on national television.
The WHO Country Office in Armenia organized a press conference devoted to World Health Day 2015 with participation from the Deputy Minister of Health and the United Nations Resident Coordinator. Advocacy materials were translated into Armenian and distributed to the media.
In close cooperation with the Public Health and Reforms Centre of the Ministry of Health of Azerbaijan and the WHO Country Office, a public awareness campaign was launched on the occasion of World Health Day 2015. WHO posters and flyers were translated into the local language and given out to the general public at the Park Boulevard shopping mall in Baku, with the help of volunteers from the local Red Crescent Society. The WHO five keys to safer food video was also shown on an open-air screen at the shopping mall.
In recognition of World Health Day 2015, a press conference was held with the support of Professor Vesselka Duleva, Minister of Health, Dr Angel Kunchev, State Sanitary Inspector, and colleagues from the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. WHO food safety materials were translated into Bulgarian and distributed through the 28 regional health inspectorates of the Ministry of Health.
A series of events marked the occasion of World Health Day 2015 in Croatia. Supported by the Andrija Stampar School of Public Health and the City Department of Health in Zagreb, food safety messages were communicated to students and school directors through a number of lectures and workshops. The main city square in Zagreb hosted food stands from trusted manufacturers and eco-friendly markets.
The WHO Country Office in Estonia, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, launched a communications campaign to highlight World Health Day 2015, which included a joint press release, the WHO five keys for food safety poster and video (translated into the local language) and other media materials from WHO. The materials were also circulated to media channels through health-promoting specialists and the Healthy Cities Network. Food safety messages and information were also promoted via various media channels to children, the elderly and academia.
Georgia held a number of events to mark the occasion of World Health Day 2015 with participation from the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs; the National Food Agency (under the Ministry of Agriculture) and the National Centre of Disease Control and Public Health. A press conference highlighted food safety issues in Georgia and all materials were translated into Georgian. A number of municipal parks organized activities for children, parents and school staff devoted to food safety issues.
World Health Day 2015 was celebrated in Hungary with wide media coverage and a joint conference supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Minister of State for Food Chain Supervision and the National Institute for Food and Nutrition Science. All World Health Day materials were translated into Hungarian and distributed through various channels. School campaigns have been planned for the whole year using materials from WHO. The Healthy Cities Network also used WHO materials for their local events.
The WHO Country Office, the Ministry of Health and Social Development, the Committee for Consumer Rights Protection and the Ministry of Agriculture held a joint press conference to highlight food safety issues on World Health Day 2015. All World Health Day material was translated into Russian and distributed to all regions of Kazakhstan.
Kosovo (in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999))
Over 100 participants from professional health and educational institutions joined the WHO Country Office and the Ministry of Health in Pristina to present the draft food action plan for 2014–2020, as part of the World Health Day 2015 celebrations. The event received great media coverage, and World Health Day posters and leaflets were distributed to press and public health institutions.
Over 600 participants, including ministers, from the health, agriculture and veterinarian sectors participated in a conference at Riga Stradins University to celebrate World Health Day 2015. The conference was jointly organized by the Latvian Medical Association, health and agriculture ministries, the Latvian Association of Veterinarians and the WHO Country Office.
The national Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, through the Healthy Cities National Network, organized 4 regional workshops in April to distribute food safety messages to schools and municipalities. The World Health Day materials including the WHO five keys to food safety video, translated into Latvian, were widely distributed.
A high-level press conference was organized at the Parliament of Lithuania with participation from the Minister of Health, the Chairperson of the Health Committee in Parliament, the Chairperson of the National Health Board, the Director of the State Food and Veterinary Service, and the Head of the WHO Country Office to mark World Health Day 2015. Its theme was to highlight the food safety issues in Lithuania and noncommunicable diseases related to nutrition. World Health Day has been broadly covered in the national and local media (television, radio, newspapers), and by numerous public health websites and other institutions.
An annual national scientific conference for PhD students dedicated to World Health Day was organized at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, with key note speeches on food safety issues from the State Food and Veterinary Service, and the evidence-informed health policy-making programme from the WHO Country Office.
A joint press conference, including the WHO Country Office and the Institute of Public Health, was held for World Health Day 2015, which focused on food safety in Montenegro. The Director of the Institute of Public Health, Dr Boban Mugosa, spoke at the conference and highlighted that healthy, safe and quality food in appropriate quantities is the foundation for sustaining life and preserving health.
Ms Mina Brajovic, Head of the WHO Country Office added, "All outbreaks of foodborne diseases recorded so far, point to the fact that these diseases create barriers to socioeconomic development, having a negative influence on health and economically affecting individuals, their families and society in general. Moreover, they place a significant burden on health systems, trade and tourism, and substantially lower economic productivity."
Before and after the press conference, the WHO five keys to safer food video was shown on a number of national television stations, and Ms Brajovic gave a series of live television interviews.
Mr Grzegorz Lapanowski, a well-known Polish cook, was the voice of the WHO five keys to safer food video, which was broadcast on Polish television in honour of World Health Day 2015. This was just one of the many events organized by Poland to highlight food safety. A conference of key delegates from the WHO Country Office, health and agriculture ministries, Codex Alimentarius Contact Point, Polish FAO National Committee, European Food Safety Authority, National Food and Nutrition Institute, and the National Institute of Public Health - National Institute of Hygiene discussed health issues under the premise, "Daily dilemmas of the consumer – what does your food consist of?" In addition, a joint press conference was held with representatives from the Ministry of Health, the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate, the National Food and Nutrition Institute, and the National Institute of Public Health - National Institute of Hygiene.
Republic of Moldova
Every year in the Republic of Moldova, over 10 000 cases of foodborne diseases are registered, and this figure is growing. In response, and in recognition of World Health Day 2015, a series of food-safety events were held at local and national levels, as well as on social media to support this year's theme – From farm to plate: make food safe. A joint press conference, including the WHO Country Office, health and agriculture ministries, and food industry representatives, presented the WHO five keys to safer food video. Chisinau hosted a natural product fair, and the celebrations culminated in a Health Gala event to honour the best health professionals in the Republic of Moldova.
Dr Therese Westrell from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control was the guest speaker at a conference held to mark World Health Day 2015 in Romania. The press conference was followed by a multidisciplinary workshop. The WHO Country Office organized the event, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, and the National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Agency. The World Health Day materials were translated into Romanian, adapted and distributed.
On the occasion of World Health Day 2015, a conference titled "From farm to plate: make food safe" was held on 6 April 2015 at the Institute of Public Health in Belgrade. Key stakeholders participated including the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, as well as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and consumer associations. The WHO video five keys to safer food was promoted and provided with Serbian subtitles. Food safety was highlighted, as well as how national regulations meet European Union standards. Dr Miljana Grbic, Head of the Country Office, addressed the participants pointing out the importance of prevention in achieving food safety, and encouraged closer cooperation between the relevant sectors such as health and agriculture.
The project "Play and Live Healthily" was implemented by the WHO Country Office and the Slovak Food Chamber. Children aged 10–12 years produced videos showing what a healthy lifestyle with a focus on diet and physical activity means to them. Since 1 May 2015, new legislative measures have been in force that decrease the amount of salt in selected food (up to 50%), which also applies to restaurants and canteens in schools and workplaces.
Nearly 120 participants joined the Ministry of Health; the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food; the national food safety administration; the National Institute of Public Health; the National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food; and the WHO Country Office for a national conference to highlight food safety on World Health Day 2015. The Ministry of Health also promoted the new national policy on nutrition and physical exercise.
The WHO Country Office and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations hosted a multisectoral conference on food safety to engage influential food-related advocates and relevant public figures. Tajikistan communicated the key issues from the conference to national press and media.
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
The WHO Country Office provided support for a traditional celebration arranged by the Macedonian Medical Association. Materials produced for World Health Day were translated into local languages (Macedonian and Albanian) and distributed to public health centres. The National Public Health Institute held a press conference to emphasize WHO/Europe's food safety recommendations for the general public, and technical experts met to discuss action needed to prevent foodborne diseases and food safety challenges.
Over 200 experts including high-level representatives from the Ministry of Health; the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock; Hacettepe University; the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; nongovernmental organizations and WHO/Europe attended a high-level event to mark World Health Day 2015. A panel and Q&A session followed.
As part of the 20th anniversary celebrations for the National Health Programme, the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry, the WHO Country Office and WHO/Europe organized a national conference in recognition of World Health Day 2015. Experts discussed the issues of food safety in readiness for the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, which will be hosted by Turkmenistan in 2017.
Uzbekistan hosted a national conference in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; the United Nations Children's Fund; the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; and the Deputy Minister of Health and invited press and the general public to launch World Health Day 2015.