Slovakia to focus on public health capacity building in next 2 years

WHO

Slovakia will focus in the next 2 years on assessing the national public health situation, building capacity and introducing new norms and standards for running public campaigns. This was agreed upon in a recent meeting between the national authorities and WHO in Bratislava.

Representatives of the Ministry of Health, the WHO Country Office in Slovakia and WHO/Europe met on 11 December 2015 for a WHO Country Day where the activities proposed in the biennial collaboration agreement (BCA) between WHO and Slovakia for the biennium 2016–2017 were discussed and agreed upon. Country days offer opportunities for WHO and national representatives to exchange experiences, review their past collaboration and discuss proposals for the new biennium.

BCA to help reach national policy targets

The Ministry of Health also invited representatives from the Public Health Authority, regional public health institutes, the National Health Information Center and academic institutions to discuss the main thematic areas of collaboration between Slovakia and WHO. Participants included national technical focal points (NTFPs) and BCA coordinators.

The National Counterpart, Mrs Elena Jablonicka, who facilitated the meeting together with the Head of WHO Country Office, Dr Darina Sedlakova, said that the national health policy (Strategic framework for health 2013–2030) is fully in line with the European policy framework, Health 2020. She added that the Ministry wants to work on achieving the national policy targets using the assistance received under the BCA. Dr Sedlakova thanked the Ministry and all participants for their constructive collaboration with WHO on the BCA.

Participants expressed concern that the responsible institutions may lack the necessary capacity to offer support to the national BCA coordinators. Therefore, all activities should be designed so that their impact is worth the investments and meets expectations of national authorities and WHO, they said.

Highlights of collaboration in 2014–2015

In his opening remarks, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr Mario Mikloši, thanked WHO for its technical and financial support as per the BCA. The collaboration contributed to among other things:

  • development of the national health promotion programme and action plans for nutrition, physical activity and alcohol control;
  • inclusion of Roma into mainstream society;
  • improved health and quality of life of people with disabilities;
  • active and healthy ageing; and
  • long-term care strategy.

Dr Mikloši requested WHO´s help during the Slovak Presidency of the European Union (July–December 2016), when it will give priority to tuberculosis and noncommunicable diseases. The Ministry will give high-level support and regularly monitor the implementation of all activities agreed in the BCA, he added. 

Dr Marija Kishman, Technical Officer, Strategic Relations with Countries at WHO/Europe, gave an overview of the mission, functions and mandate of WHO. She explained the new way of communication and collaboration between WHO and its Member States in the WHO European Region, the principles of which were adopted in resolution EUR/RC62/R7 at the 62nd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe. WHO/Europe has since established a European network of national counterparts (NCs) and NTFPs who are the main contact points in countries for WHO.