WHO Regional Director visits Slovenia
Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, Regional Director of WHO/Europe, made an official visit to Slovenia on 29–30 October 2015. At a meeting in Vila Podrožnik, organized by Ms Milojka Kolar-Celarc, Minister of Health of Slovenia, the Regional Director met with Mr Miro Cerar, Prime Minister of Slovenia, and Mr Dušan Mramor, the Minister of Finance. Discussions focused on health system reform and the assistance provided by WHO in generating evidence for policy development. Dr Jakab lauded the achievements of Slovenia's robust health system, including increasing life expectancy, a reduction in mortality due to cardiovascular disease and a low infant mortality rate. Ways to improve the performance of the health system were discussed, including addressing existing challenges in expenditure, funding and the purchasing and payment system, as well as optimizing services.
WHO and Slovenia have enjoyed a productive relationship for many years. In 1996, the Ljubljana Charter on Reforming Health Care was endorsed – a milestone document for strengthening health systems in the European Region.
The refugee and migrant crisis in Europe
The refugee and migrant crisis in Europe is a particular current concern in Slovenia. More than 100 000 migrants entered Slovenia in the past 2 weeks, and the influx continues. Public health and other aspects of migration were discussed on several occasions during the official visit. Dr Jakab emphasized that adequate standards of care for refugees and migrants arriving in Europe are not only important for population health but are fundamental for protecting and promoting their human rights and those of the host communities.
Address to the National Council of Slovenia
Addressing the National Council, Dr Jakab presented the work of WHO, Health 2020, WHO/Europe's framework for health and well-being, the newly adopted sustainable development goals and strengthening health systems. Dr Jakab described selected health outcomes in Slovenia and presented the findings of a health system review. She also referred to the refugee and migrant crisis and the implications for Europe of Ebola virus disease.
During her visit, Dr Jakab met with Mr Primož Hainz, Deputy President of the National Assembly, and Dr Tomaž Gantar, Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Health.
Biennial collaborative agreement (BCA) signed
Mrs Milojka Kolar Celarc, Minister of Health of Slovenia, and Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, signed a BCA setting priorities for their joint work in 2016–2017.