Strengthening collaboration between WHO/Europe and Romania in addressing health emergencies and communicable diseases

WHO/Calin Dumitrescu

Meeting of WHO delegation at the Department for Emergency Situations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

On the occasion of European Immunization Week 2017 and the visit of the WHO Regional Director for Europe to Romania on 26–28 April 2017, a series of technical meetings on communicable disease prevention and control, and responding to health emergencies and outbreaks was organized by the WHO Country Office.

Immunization

As Romania is currently experiencing its largest measles outbreak in recent years, the Regional Office delegation placed particular emphasis on and pledged continuing support for efforts to end the outbreak and improve the vaccine supply system.

Dr Nedret Emiroglu, Director of the WHO Division of Health Emergencies and Communicable Diseases had a meeting with Corina Silvia Pop, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Health. The discussion focused on establishment of further areas of collaboration related to immunization, including human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, mobilization of vulnerable communities for vaccination, and technical support in development of a national plan for hepatitis.

“WHO is pleased to work with Romania to increase immunization coverage at the benefit of Romanian children. Scaling up work in this area will be critical for the country to reach the targets of the European Vaccine Action Plan and relevant SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals],” explained Dr Emiroglu. “We want to see Romania joining the group of European countries that have eliminated measles transmission”.

Emergency services

Additional discussions focused on collaboration to assess and strengthen emergency preparedness and response in the country.

During a bilateral meeting at the Department for Emergency Situations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Dr Raed Arafat, Secretary of State shared Romania’s experience in providing integrated emergency services. “The Department for Emergency Situations is de facto coordination department of emergency system in Romania. Since 2014, we have brought the medical emergency, fire, civil protection and air rescue services under one hat, providing a strong integration approach to emergency response,” stressed Dr Arafat.

Dr Emiroglu referred to the WHO policies and guidelines for preparedness and response to health threats, mass gatherings and mass casualties, humanitarian crises and mass movements of populations, emphasizing that Romania’s experience should be shared with other countries.

As further steps, both sides agreed on a further WHO technical mission to Romania in the coming months to assess the emergency services preparedness, including for mass casualties and mass movements.