Regional Director addresses the Third Islamic Conference of Ministers of Health

Ms Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, is representing the entire World Health Organization at the Third Islamic Conference of Ministers of Health of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, taking place on 29 September to 1 October 2011, in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Speaking during the opening session, Ms Jakab explained the work of the WHO Regional Office for Europe together with Member States in addressing key public health challenges including: preparing for emergencies and public health crises, eradicating polio, counteracting antibiotic resistance, achieving the Millennium Development Goals, fighting tuberculosis, HIV and malaria, tackling noncommunicable diseases, strengthening health systems, and promoting healthy environments.

“For the most efficient use of scarce resources, it is vital that preventive measures take a more prominent role, public health functions be strengthened and the health-in-all-policies approach promoted and advanced. These are also core elements of our new European health policy, Health 2020,” stated Zsuzsanna Jakab.

WHO will also participate in panel discussions on tuberculosis (Dr Masoud Dara) and vaccine self-reliance (Dr Melita Vujnovic). 

Health developments in Kazakhstan

During her visit to Astana, the Regional Director will have bilateral meetings with senior members of the Government, including the Minister of Health, Dr Salidat Zekenovna Kairbekova, to discuss the current status of health system reform in the country and the progress towards achieving the national health goals of the Kazakhstan health care development programme “Salamatti Kazakhstan 2011–2015”.

The Minister of Health and the Regional Director will also sign the Biennial Collaborative Agreement 2012–2013 outlining joint areas of work over the next two years in:

  • integrating the European health policy, Health 2020, into national health policy development;
  • strengthening health systems and public health;
  • reducing the burden of noncommunicable diseases, and encouraging health promotion and healthy lifestyles;
  • ensuring the health system responds effectively to communicable diseases, health security and environmental issues; and
  • increasing the quality of health information and health situation analyses.

The visit will provide an opportunity to welcome Dr Melita Vujnovic to her new duties as WHO Representative to Kazakhstan from 1 October 2011.

In addition, Zsuzsanna Jakab will also meet Mr Stephen Tull, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kazakhstan, and discuss further collaboration and strengthened joint delivery of key programmes for improving health and investment in prosperity and human development in Kazakhstan, between WHO and other United Nations agencies as part of the implementation of the national United Nations Development Assistance Framework.