WHO experts and former health ministers meet with Minister of Health of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to discuss implementing health reforms


An international team led by Dr Hans Kluge, Director of Health Systems and Public Health at WHO/Europe, and comprising experts from WHO, former ministers of health from Croatia and Hungary, and former deputy ministers of health from Georgia and Ukraine met with Minister of Health Dr Venko Filipce to identify ways to support the Ministry to ensure better health and well-being for everyone.

At the high-level meeting on 5–6 September 2018, the group discussed various means to enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Health to strengthen its health system to respond to the country’s current health challenges. The meeting followed on discussions between Dr Filipce and WHO/Europe in July 2018 on strengthening WHO collaboration with the country.

Among other priorities, Dr Filipce underlined the importance of capacity-building for Ministry leadership and other decision-makers to govern reforms and manage change. He also pointed to the need to support broader health policy dialogue with national and international partners.

Dr Filipce expressed the Ministry’s appreciation for WHO support. “As a government institution, we acknowledge the cooperation with WHO as invaluable in elevating our health systems to European standards. Our ultimate goal is to improve our health services for all citizens of the country. We are working intensively on developing solutions to enhance the existing health model, particularly in the primary health sector,” he stated.

Dr Kluge stated, “We commend the leadership of Minister of Health Dr Filipce for his health reforms, which should tackle both today’s but also tomorrow’s health challenges. This, in turn, will lead to better health outcomes for people and future generations. WHO commits its strong support at both policy and service-delivery levels, and we believe that the country will provide useful lessons for other countries in the Region.”

Like many other countries of the WHO European Region, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia faces the challenges of a growing burden of noncommunicable diseases, risk factors such as smoking and unhealthy diet, and preventable perinatal and neonatal deaths.

In response to these challenges, the country aims to strengthen primary health care while reducing the burden of care on hospitals for those conditions that could be better prevented and managed in ambulatory settings. It also aims to improve health services delivery at the hospital level.

In pursuing this, the Ministry seeks to improve the competencies and the role of family doctors and nurses in primary health care, to introduce a programme of home-based services, and to develop an integrated and comprehensive maternal and neonatal health-care system.