Meeting of ministers of health of the South-eastern Europe Health Network

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21–23 June 2015, Belgrade, Serbia

An ad-hoc meeting of ministers of health of the South-eastern Europe (SEE) Health Network member States, Further Steps to Strengthening the SEE Regional Collaboration for Public Health, is being held to strengthen regional cooperation on public health and the Network's governance structures.

It was jointly organized by Dr Zlatibor Lončar, Minister of Health of the Republic of Serbia and current President of SEEHN, and Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

This meeting is the first of a series of ad-hoc ministerial meetings that will be co-hosted by WHO and the Presidency of the SEEHN, in order to strengthen the political momentum and direction of the Network. It is being held back-to-back with the 35th plenary meeting of the SEEHN and brings together ministers, deputy ministers and state secretaries from the 10 Member States. The focus of the ministerial meeting is universal access to health services and scaling up of public health services for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases in the south-eastern Europe sub-region. 

Other issues common to the Member States of the Network are also being addressed, including implementation of the European health policy framework, Health 2020, and the role of the International Health Regulations (2005) in emergency preparedness and response.

Specifically, the meeting has been organized to:

  • express political commitment to sub-regional collaboration in public health in SEE; 
  • further promote and increase political commitment to implementing Health 2020, the European policy framework for health and well-being, within the health reforms of the SEEHN Member States; 
  • agree on joint regional and national actions to ensure universal health coverage, by strengthening health systems and reforming public health services, scaling up health promotion services for noncommunicable disease prevention and control, with a particular focus on vulnerable population groups and creating resilient communities; and
  • agree on regional actions to follow up the Skopje statement, for addressing: 
    • the development, mobility and education of the health workforce in the sub-region; and 
    • health preparedness and response to crises in the SEEHN region and improving aid coordination at such times. 

It is anticipated that a 'Belgrade Statement', expressing political commitment to the sub-regional collaboration in public health in SEE will be adopted.

The 35th plenary session of the SEEHN, on 23–24 June, will focus on the work plan for the next Presidency, Albania, and related issues.