WHO and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia strengthen collaboration to reduce NCDs

Predrag Kitanovski

The WHO Country Office in Skopje hosted a meeting on 11 November 2013 for national health experts on implementation of the WHO Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) Global Monitoring Framework and its adaptation to the national context.

This event marked the start of activities under the newly signed bilateral collaborative agreement (BCA) between WHO/Europe and the Ministry of Health for 2014–2015.

In his opening speech, Mr Nikola Todorov, Minister of Health, expressed strong political support for national action on NCDs and for closer collaboration with WHO: "In the BCA 2014–2015, we have placed an accent on preparation of a National Operational Plan on Health 2020, as well as on development of a new Strategy on Noncommunicable Diseases – 2020, while developing in parallel strong monitoring frameworks that will help us monitor and assess the implementation and impact of activities prescribed by these two key documents. In this manner, we will act towards implementation of the WHO Health 2020 strategy and will integrate the national documents and activities for development of all segments of the system in one efficient, effective and sustainable framework policy on health”.

Dr Bertrand Desmoulins, United Nations Resident Coordinator and United Nations Children's Fund Representative praised the Minister's efforts, and underlined that health is not an expense, but an investment, and that there can be no economic development without a healthy population.

Ms Snezhana Chichevalieva, Head of the WHO Country Office in Skopje, emphasized that the new Health 2020 European strategy on health and wellbeing was adopted in response to new demands, challenges and opportunities, with an aim to significantly advance the health of the population, decrease inequalities and secure sustainable people-centered health systems. Within the framework of this mandate and identified priorities in the new BCA, WHO can now provide expert support for development of long-term national policies and strategies and strategic development of health in the present national context.