Workshops on Essential Public Health Operations (EPHOs) held in Tiraspol


The WHO Country Office, Republic of Moldova, with the technical support of the European Regional Office, held a series of workshops in Tiraspol between 18 and 22 July 2016.

These workshops focused on:

  • achieving consensus on a set of recommendations aiming at delivering the Essential Public Health Operations (EPHOs) in the Transnistria region of the Republic of Moldova; and
  • translating the outputs of the process into actionable recommendations.

Participants of the workshops included experts from the working groups that were nominated to conduct the self assessment. They expressed their appreciation for the technical support provided by the WHO experts, stressing that the work should result in strengthening the public health service, its efficiency and sustainability, thus ultimately contributing to the general improvement of the population health status.

The objectives of the workshops were to:

  • introduce a system to help participants prioritize a manageable number of achievable recommendations;
  • examine the recommendations developed for each EPHO;
  • prioritize the EPHOs with the working groups by evaluating the effort required to implement a recommendation, as well as its relative impact if fully implemented; and
  • facilitate discussions to achieve consensus on a core set of prioritized recommendations for strengthening the public health services.

Main achievements and outcomes are:

  • to produce two sets of prioritized recommendations (a list of specific recommendations for each EPHO and a list of general recommendations for the overall assessment) to guide resource-allocation decisions;
  • to explore opportunities for creating responsive, sustainable and high-quality people-centered public health services;
  • to provide a platform for workshop participants to evaluate, discuss and debate the prioritized recommendations; and
  • to achieve consensus on a core set of prioritized recommendations and ensure ownership of the results and engagement in the wider planning process.  


In 2015 a group of health managers of Tiraspol expressed their interest to the WHO Country Office, Republic of Moldova, to evaluate the status of the public health system and to strengthen its capacity of addressing noncommunicable diseases. Together they started to assess the process of delivering EPHOs on the left bank of the Nistru River, using a shorter version of the newly revised WHO/Europe self-assessment tool for the evaluation of Essential Public Health Operations.

Different working groups were then established and assigned different parts of the assessment. They were composed of a variety of key public health professionals, including health managers, directors of healthcare facilities, heads of polyclinics and other representatives of medical institutions.

Two fact-finding missions on the EPHO process took place in the region, on 4 and 17-18 November 2015.

The health managers from Tiraspol analyzed the data and, with the technical support of WHO, generated a core set of recommendations to take forward to strengthen and secure the delivery of the EPHOs.

Next steps

The prioritization process is envisaged to culminate in an intersectoral meeting to discuss findings, conclusions and practical recommendations on the EPHO assessment process with decision makers from various sectors. Both the WHO Country Office, Republic of Moldova, and the WHO/Europe public-health-services programme will support and facilitate this initiative.

WHO’s support to this activity is part of the biennial collaborative agreement 2016–2017 between the Moldovan Ministry of Health and WHO/Europe. The initiative is financially supported by WHO and the Support to Confidence Building Measures Programme funded by the European Union and coordinated by WHO in the areas of technical assistance in the health sector.