Standing Committee meets in Bulgaria

The second session of the Twentieth Standing Committee of the Regional Committee for Europe (SCRC), hosted by the Ministry of Health of Bulgaria, was held in Sofia, on 26 and 27 November 2012.

The SCRC commended WHO/Europe’s work in following up the decisions made at the 2012 session of the Regional Committee, and began preparations for the 2013 session, including making some preliminary decisions on technical and policy items for inclusion on the agenda. Specifically, the SCRC discussed items including:

  • development of a monitoring system for Health 2020 with regional goals and a set of indicators;
  • development of a new European action plan on mental health;
  • surveillance and control of invasive mosquito vectors and re-emerging vector-borne diseases (such as dengue and chikungunya fever);
  • review of the environment and health process
  • progress towards the goal of eliminating measles and rubella; and
  • the sunsetting of past Regional Committee resolutions.

The SCRC also received a report from the Secretariat on budget and financial issues, was informed about conferences scheduled in 2013 and 2014, and discussed issues to be taken up at the meeting of the Programme, Budget and Administration Committee of the of the WHO Executive Board in December 2012 and the next session of the Executive Board in January 2013.

All 12 SCRC member countries and the European representative of the Executive Board attended the session, which was co-chaired by Ms Dessislava Dmitrova, Deputy Minister of Health of Bulgaria, and Deputy Executive President of the Regional Committee, and Dr Raymond Busuttil, Superintendent of Public Health, Malta. Ms Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe and senior WHO/Europe managers also took part.

The next SCRC session will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 18–19 March 2013.

Meeting of the Regional Director and the President of Bulgaria

During her visit to Bulgaria, the Regional Director met with Mr Rosen Plevneliev, the President. They discussed progress in health in the country and future strategic directions for the sector.

They agreed that Bulgaria needs a long-term, cross-sectoral plan to promote an approach seeking to include the consideration of health in all policies, using the newly adopted European policy for health and well-being, Health 2020, as a reference point.

The Regional Director also agreed that WHO/Europe would support the Government in preparing for an intersectoral conference on health in Bulgaria in spring 2013.