The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia develops National Health 2020 Strategy

Predrag Kitanovski

On 22–23 April 2015, over 60 experts and professionals met to assess progress and collaborate on the country's ongoing development of the National Health 2020 Strategy. The participants represented institutions within and outside the Government sector. They identified key strategic goals and objectives, and discussed and defined the basis of the Strategy.

The Government is using an open, consultative, participatory, all-inclusive process to develop the National Health 2020 Strategy. It named its strategy document "TOGETHER FOR HEALTH" to emphasize that the vision, objectives and activities must be achieved through the joint efforts of all citizens, individually or collectively, through civil and professional associations, local communities, Government departments, religious institutions, international partners and the business sector.

Avenues for action

The development process includes a situation analysis and a national, sector-wide consultative process. The situation analysis consisted of a desk review of all relevant policies, documents and legislation. The consultative process takes place in both direct technical meetings and indirect consultations held via an e-platform for Health 2020. The e-platform, established as part of the Ministry of Health website, consists of 3 channels for communication and exchange.

  • Expert perspective is a channel to submit proposals, based on evidence or standards of practice, to solve health problems.
  • General public views are a series of general surveys to gauge the perception of the population of their health and well-being, and of the current health system.
  • Documents and analyses is a comprehensive database of health-related documents – a body of knowledge to be used as a basis for joint action – to help avoid policy overlap, improve engagement with civil society and empower communities.

Background

The country recognizes the need for systematic improvement of health, tackling health inequalities and ensuring health for future generations at the national level, and is inspired by the WHO European policy framework for health and well-being, Health 2020.

The Governmental Committee on Health and Environment in cooperation with the Ministry of Health initiated the development of the National Health 2020 Strategy at the start of 2014. The Governmental Committee on Health and Environment, as an intersectoral body, is crucial for the preparation, adoption and implementation of the Strategy. Established at the highest political level, it is an excellent example of a whole-of-government approach to health, chaired by the Prime Minister and co-chaired by the Minister of Health.

Technical and professional support for development of the National Health 2020 Strategy is provided by WHO/Europe, the WHO Country Office and the Centre for Regional Policy Research and Development (CRPRC) Studiorum.