Initiation of a national policy dialogue on public health in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Studiorum

Dr Elke Jakubowski of WHO/Europe presents the WHO European Action Plan for Strengthening Public Health Services and Capacities

A national policy dialogue on public health involving a broad group of stakeholders was launched with an initial consultation meeting on 25–26 February 2014 in Skopje. The consultation was organized by WHO/Europe and the Ministry of Health as a follow up of a public health mission conducted on 12–15 November 2013 by WHO experts Dr Maria Ruseva and Dr Richard Alderslade to assess public health policies and priorities.

The consultation meeting focused on:

  • the WHO European Action Plan for Strengthening Public Health Capacities and Services;
  • findings of the WHO public health mission;
  • the self-assessment tool of Essential Public Health Operations;
  • an outline of the draft National Public Health Action Plan and monitoring framework developed in line with the new policy framework for the WHO European Region – Health 2020.

The meeting was attended by high-level representatives from the Ministry of Health, the National Public Health Institute and regional public health centres, and representatives of academia and the School of Public Health. All participants agreed that the dialogue was a unique opportunity to come together and share views on the strengths and weaknesses of public health functions. They also expressed their ongoing commitment to participate in the national dialogue on strengthening public health in the country.

Outcomes

Key outcomes of the meeting included agreement to undertake a national public health self assessment using the draft WHO tool for self assessment of Essential Public Health Operations (EPHOs), and to initiate development of an Action Plan for Public Health as soon as possible, as requested and committed to by the Government.

A structure to guide this process will be designated by the Ministry of Health, including a steering group and subgroups for the EPHOs.

A facebook site has been created as a platform to continue the exchange at national level.

The mission and consultation meeting are part of WHO technical support to the Ministry of Health based on priorities set in the biennial collaborative agreement 2014–2015 and was organized with technical and administrative support from CRPRC Studiorum.