Armenia assesses options for public health reform


WHO is supporting the Armenian government in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of its essential public health operations, with the goal of identifying areas for reform and developing a new public health law.  Recognizing the broad scope of public health, the Ministry of health is leading the assessment by holding a number of multisectoral workshops. 

Participants of the first workshop included experts from the prime minister's office and eight other ministries. The health ministry plans to invite a wide spectrum of stakeholders to participate in future workshops, including experts from different governmental agencies, academics, and members of civil society. Reflecting on the process, deputy health minister Dr Sergey Khachatryan said, "Health is the highest expression of progress for Armenian society, and strengthening public health is one of the top priorities of the Armenian government. With the help of WHO, we want to use this assessment process to bring the Armenian public health community together and develop a common vision on actions and priorities". 

Both the WHO Country Office in Armenia and the WHO/Europe public health services programme will be supporting and facilitating the operation.  Dr Elke Jakubowski, head of the WHO/Europe public health services programme, said, "We know that ultimately, people are healthier if they lead a healthy lifestyle in a healthy environment.  We think that everybody has a right to health, and we are therefore excited to be able to support the Armenian government in creating a healthier environment for the Armenian people".

Dr Tatul Hakobyan, head of the WHO Country Office in Armenia, also expressed his enthusiasm for the project, saying, "We are happy for this opportunity to help strengthen the public health capacities in Armenia and improve the health of Armenians". The process is expected to conclude in June 2015, when the recommendations from the assessment will be available.