Building resilience to improve health and well-being in Malta

A workshop entitled “Building resilience to improve health and well-being in Malta” was held on 17 October 2017 at the University Residence in Lija, Malta.

In the context of health, resilience is defined as a combination of processes and skills that result in good health outcomes at the individual and community levels despite negative events, serious threats and hazards. Applied to the health sector, resilience can be defined in terms of policy-induced measures that enable the health system to withstand and overcome external pressures and, thereby, contribute to the sustainable development of health and well-being.

The aim of the workshop was to: (i) present state-of-the-art knowledge and evidence related to the concept of building resilient systems that promote health and well-being; and (ii) consider how the health sector in Malta could apply this information in the context of epidemiological trends and health-system challenges resulting from economic, social and environmental change.

Policy-makers and academics from various sectors involved in the promotion of health and well-being participated in the event.

The workshop kicked off with a series of presentations on the importance of building resilience to overcome inherent vulnerabilities and on the state of play in the health sector in Malta. An interactive session followed during which the participants charted the challenges facing the health sector in Malta and identified the priority action needed to build resilient communities and systems that can to respond to them.

Discussions focused on ways to:

  1. enhance political governance (e.g., legislation, strategies, institution building, programmes);
  2. strengthen economic measures (e.g., financing incentives, fiscal policies);
  3. safeguard social development (e.g., improved literacy and integration);
  4. tackle environmental issues.

The outcome of the workshop will be used to develop a profiling tool for national stakeholder consultations at a later stage, and as a basis for proposals on resilience-building measures to improve population health and well-being in the coming years.

By providing participatory ways of collecting evidence, raising awareness, building a common language and developing tools to engage stakeholders, the workshop represented an important step towards strengthening resilience effectively in Malta. These elements will contribute to enhancing health-system innovation and facilitating a proactive response to internal vulnerabilities and external pressures.

The event was organized jointly by the Directorate for Health Information and Research (DHIR) of Malta and the WHO Collaborating Centre on Health Systems and Policies in Small States at the Islands and Small States Institute (ISSI), University of Malta. It was realized with the support of the European Office for Investment for Health and Development of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, Venice, Italy, and through the Biennial Collaboration Agreement for 2016–2017 between Malta and the WHO Regional Office for Europe.