Self-sufficiency in organ donation a step closer in south-eastern Europe

Ministry of Health, Croatia

Health ministers and high-level officials from the 10 countries in the South-eastern Europe Health Network (SEEHN) attended the First Regional Ministerial Conference on Organ Donation and Transplantation “Heart to the Region” – Beating towards Self-Sufficiency, in Zagreb, Croatia on 4 June.

The Conference was opened by Mr Ivo Josipovic, President of Croatia, and Dr Hans Kluge, Director, Division of Health Systems and Public Health at WHO/Europe, on behalf of the WHO Regional Director for Europe. At the opening, Dr Kluge commended the President for applying a whole-of-government approach to health, in line with the new European health policy framework, Health 2020.  

“Croatia would like to highlight the importance of the highly complex and challenging field of organ donation and transplantation, in which remarkable progress has been made. We hope that the experience and tangible results achieved to date for the benefit of our citizens can serve as a role model for other SEEHN countries facing similar needs, opportunities, and challenges,” commented Professor Rajko Ostojić, Minister of Health of Croatia.

The goal of the Conference was to establish political support and strong commitment to further strengthen the implementation of successful programmes for organ donation and transplantation, based on the WHO Madrid Resolution on Organ Donation and Transplantation, WHO guiding principles, the Declaration of Istanbul on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism, quality and safety standards, and the European Union (EU) Action Plan on Organ Donation and Transplantation.

During panel discussions, ministers highlighted what were the strong economic and ethical grounds for an effective organ transplantation programme, how to implement EU safety and quality standards and how countries in the region could cooperate long term, and share good practices and experience.

Croatia officially inaugurated the regional health development centre on organ donation and transplantation in south-eastern European countries in February 2011.

The Conference was followed by the twenty-ninth meeting of SEEHN.