SEEHN scales up partnerships for public health

On 10-11 December 2012, the South-eastern Europe Health Network (SEEHN) held its semi-annual plenary meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel. Representatives from the SEEHN member states of Serbia, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia took part in the meeting, which will be employed as regular SEEHN practice focused on strengthening health diplomacy and the political component of the regional cooperation in public health in line with the SEEHN Banja Luka Pledge (2011).

SEEHN scaled up partnerships for public health by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Project HOPE, focusing on further implementation of the Banja Luka Pledge II pillar on equity and accountability in health through practicing health in all policies approach. The plenary reviewed significant action performed, based on the Israeli Presidency report presented.

Health 2020: the European policy for health and well-being

Dr Joanna Nurse, WHO/Europe, presented an overview of Health 2020 and the European Action Plan for Strengthening Public Health Capacities and Services (EAP) and discussed how to coordinate planning over the coming years to align the work of the SEEHN to Health 2020 and to adapt the EAP to the setting and priorities of the SEEHN.

A workshop on further implementation of the Banja Luka Pledge II pillar was also held. Dr Chris Brown outlined different approaches to improving policies and partnership working across other sectors in order to improve health and address inequalities in health. Next steps were identified regarding how to take this work forward in the SEEHN.

The plenary elected a new Executive Committee after 6 years of the extended mandate of Mrs Snezhana Chichevalieva as  Chair, and the retirement of Dr Maria Ruseva from WHO/Europe. Dr Goran Cherkez will perform as Chair of the Executive Committee in 2013.

New host country for Secretariat

SEEHN continues to develop and strengthen its independent subregional structures. Deputy Minister Jovica Andovski from the host country of the SEEHN Secretariat, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, reported that the Secretariat has been registered as an international entity and preparations for the inauguration event have already begun. The Secretariat will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister of the host country, Mr Nikola Gruevski, in the presence of Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, international organizations, the Minister of Health of Slovenia as the representative of the SEEHN partner countries, and other high level political and technical persons from the SEEHN member states and SEE regional cooperation structures, on 3-4 February 2013, in Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.