Belarus and WHO Europe sign new collaborative agreement
A new biennial collaborative agreement (BCA) was formally signed between Belarus and WHO/Europe during the visit of Minister of Health Dr Valery Malashko, to UN City in Copenhagen on 4 December 2017. The visit served as an opportunity for WHO/Europe to provide insight into its work at all levels and to engage in discussions about the ways that it can cooperate with and support Belarus in making progress on its health priorities. The new BCA, which formalizes WHO/Europe’s collaboration with the country during 2018–2019, reflects the key health challenges in Belarus, and prioritizes addressing:
- communicable diseases;
- prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), with a focus on the 4 main NCD risk factors;
- mental health and substance abuse;
- prevention of child injuries;
- health system strengthening.
Dr Malashko used the occasion of his visit to outline the health challenges facing Belarus and report on the main activities to tackle them. In addition to meeting with the WHO Regional Director for Europe, Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, the minister met with directors of WHO/Europe’s technical divisions, who presented their specific areas of work, with an emphasis on the situation in Belarus and future collaboration.
The discussions focused on several key health topics, including:
- HIV and hepatitis;
- Tuberculosis (TB), including multidrug-resistant TB, and new mechanisms of TB services financing;
- NCDs, specifically addressing risk factors and employing an intersectoral approach;
- integrated people-centred health services with a focus on primary health care;
- access to medicines (rational use of antimicrobials, pricing and WHO prequalification programme);
- health information systems and eHealth.
Dr Malashko and Dr Jakab also discussed the possibility of having a high-level event in Belarus sometime in October or November next year. They also agreed on several future activities, ranging from technical support on eHealth and health information systems to a sub-regional conference on TB/HIV/hepatitis and health systems in late 2018.