Communicating public health: 1st WHO capacity building exercise in the WHO European Region took place in Republic of Moldova


Republic of Moldova hosts participants at the 1st WHO capacity building exercise on public health communication

The first capacity building event in the European Region on public health communication and media relations took place in Vadul lui Voda (Chisinau municipality) for selected national counterparts in the Republic of Moldova on 23-24 July 2013. The event was followed by a one-day training for WHO on crisis communication and the WHO reform process.

The programme aimed to improve communication skills for articulating and delivering clear messages, effectively managing media and proactively reaching different target groups. The participants learnt how to use crisis communication skills during health emergencies and were taught how to understand and use new and traditional media with the aid of simulation exercises.

The capacity building event brought together 40 representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Health, senior members and spokespersons of important public health and health care institutions. It was facilitated by the WHO headquarters, WHO Regional Office for Europe and WHO Country Office in the Republic of Moldova.

Svetlana Cotelea, Deputy Minister of Health and Chief Medical Officer stressed the importance of communications in bringing about changes in the health system and in efficiently managing public and media demands. Dr Jarno Habicht, WHO Representative to Republic of Moldova said, “Current capacity building is essential to have a better dialogue between media and health specialists.”

The capacity building programme addressed basic principles of modern communication and concentrated on selected topics relevant to the Republic of Moldova including:

  • universal coverage and access to health services
  • health insurance and financing
  • noncommunicable diseases, with a focus on tobacco control and mitigating the harmful effects from alcohol
  • vaccine preventable diseases and immunization
  • health professionals migration and mobility
  • outbreak and crisis communication.

In her concluding remarks, Dr Gaya Manori Gamhewage, WHO Communications Coordinator said, “In the era of noncommunicable diseases it is crucial to communicate better, reach the target audiences and call for action."

According to Ina Parvanova, WHO/Europe Communications Adviser, future trainings will be offered in other countries in the Region.