Pre-meeting to the WHO Regional Committee: Public Health, Malta, Sunday 9 September 2012

Ministers and high level representatives from the newly independent states and southern-eastern European countries and the WHO Regional Office for Europe’s Executive Management discussed the rationale and key findings of reports underpinning the European Action Plan (EAP) for Strengthening Public Health Services and Capacity 2012-2020 across the region at a high level meeting preceding the sixty-second session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in Malta.

Key messages included:

  • An assessment of 41 of the 53 WHO European countries has found that public health services across the European Region do not have the full capacity or skills to address 21st century challenges, especially where there are greater inequalities in healt.
  • Public health services that need to be especially strengthened include health promotion and the disease prevention for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs); whilst robust health protection services will still be needed to address 21st century challenge.
  • An average of only 3% of national health budgets are spent on prevention across Europe – investing in prevention can play an important role in reducing the impact of escalating health care costs related to an ageing population and increasing NCDs to achieve cost effective health outcomes.

The European Action Plan for Strengthening Public Health Services and Capacity 2012-2020 and the resolution will be presented for comments and endorsement by the 52 Member States at the sixty-second session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, on Thursday, 13 September in Malta.

The resolution, EAP, information and background documents can be found on the Regional Committee website. In addition, a summary brochure can be found on the Public Health Services website.