Integrating environment and health into the national planning processes

Alexandra Gonchar

A team of experts from the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health met in the Republic of Moldova on 22-26 August 2016, in the framework of the Essential Public Health Operations (EPHOs) in the Republic of Moldova, including the Transnistria region.

The purpose of the mission was to develop a framework for building and strengthening environment-and-health capacities. The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and gaps in the area of environment and health were discussed.

The team achieved the following objectives:

  • assessed the progress and status of the national documents on adapting to climate change and managing the health impact of environmental risks;
  • identified the gaps and impediments for promoting and implementing the Draft Climate change adaptation Action Plan after its enforcement;
  • discussed with health-and-environment specialists in Tiraspol on:
    • developing a set of recommendations for human-resource capacity building;  
    • assessing needs and developing recommendation for the local environment-and-health policies.

During the mission various meetings were organized with representatives from the Ministry of Health, the National Center for Public Health and the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Moldova, as well as specialists from the health, animal health and environmental protection sectors from Tiraspol.

Conclusions and recommendations

The mission reached the following conclusions:

  • it is necessary to integrate  environment-and-health risk management into local and national planning processes;
  • it is necessary to ensure an adequate level of health-system preparedness and response in vulnerable sectors like air, food and water;
  • it is necessary to increase the national and local capacity to respond to public environmental health risks;
  • it is necessary to develop efficient information management systems at local and national levels, also for the general public.

It also established the goals for the future:

  • development of a normative/technical framework;
  • strengthening, monitoring and controlling environmental health risks and disease surveillance;
  • building capacities through a continuing training process.

WHO support for this activity is part of the biennial collaborative agreement 2016–2017 between the Moldovan Ministry of Health and WHO/Europe. The initiative is financially supported by WHO and the Support to Confidence Building Measures Programme funded by the European Union and coordinated by WHO, under technical assistance and capacity-building activities in the health sector.