National Public Health Strategy in the Republic of Moldova nearing completion
The process of developing a National Public Health Strategy in the Republic of Moldova entered its final stage, as a pre-final version of the Strategy was presented and discussed on 17 January 2013 at a national workshop conducted by the Ministry of Health with support from the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the WHO Country Office. The draft Strategy was developed in line with the new European policy framework – Health 2020 and the European Action Plan for Strengthening Public Health Capacities and Services.
Main chapters of the Strategy reviewed at the workshop, included:
- surveillance of population health;
- monitoring of and response to health hazards and emergencies;
- health promotion;
- disease prevention;
- health protection, and
- assuring a competent public health and personal health care workforce.
More than 30 specialists attended the event representing the Ministry of Health and other ministries, the National Centre of Public Health, State Medical and Pharmaceutical University, development partners and national experts. Discussions were facilitated by the WHO Country Office and WHO/Europe representatives, and by external consultants.
Dr Jarno Habicht, WHO Representative in the Republic of Moldova, opened the event, underlining the importance of developing a public health strategy for the country to strengthen public health services: “Development of the National Public Health Strategy went through a long process; some attempts were made in 2009 and re-initiated in the winter of 2011. The concept of public health has also changed over time, and now is the proper time to have a comprehensive and pragmatic strategy with a time-bound action plan that will include the institutional changes of the national Public Health Service.”
Dr Ion Bahnarel, general director of the National Centre of Public Health, thanked all participants, members of the national working group, external consultants and especially representatives of the WHO Country Office and WHO/Europe for their contributions and comments to the National Public Health Strategy. He also highlighted the importance of the Strategy for the country: “The National Public Health Strategy has to respond to the current needs of the Republic of Moldova and to tackle the double burden of diseases, both noncommunicable and communicable. The Strategy has to underline the health in all policies approach and the importance of other sectors working together with the health sector in promoting health and preventing diseases. It is also the basis for structural changes of the public health system.”
Development of the Strategy
The overall objective of the National Public Health Strategy is: “to improve health and reduce health inequalities through strengthening public health service and integration of health promotion, disease prevention and health protection activities in different sectors of society”.
It was developed based on the evaluation results of public health operations, services and activities. The first structure of the National Public Health Strategy was agreed upon at a national workshop organized in December 2011. Since that time a few versions of the Strategy have been developed and coordinated with other sectors during national workshops.
A key turning point in the development of the Strategy was a study visit to Finland and Estonia, carried out in the period 28 November to 5 December 2012. After the study visit, the Strategy was revised and restructured and changes were discussed during weekly meetings of the working group. The Strategy is expected to be completed in the coming month and submitted for Government approval in the first half of 2013.
The workshop and the on-going process of strengthening public health services are part of a European Union funded project on technical assistance to the health sector, which is under WHO coordination and related to budget support to the Republic of Moldova.