Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Extraordinary success: the 32nd Plenary Meeting of the SEE Health Network and the SEE 2020 Growth Startegy

The 32nd Plenary Meeting of the SEE Health Network (SEEHN) recently finished its work in Podgorca, Montenegro under the Presidency of the Montenegrin Minister of Health, Prof. Dr. Miodrag Radunovic.

The SEEHN sincerely thanks and greets the Montenegrin Presidency  and the team of the Ministry of Health and the SEE RHDC for Noncommunicable Diseases for their excellent leadership and work in the period 01 July - 31 December 2013.

The SEEHN expresses its deep gratitude to its founding partner, WHO Regional Office for Europe and its Regional Director. At the 32nd Plenary WHO Europe was represented by Directors of its two important Divisions, those of Health Systems and Public health and of Noncommunicable Diseases and Health Promotion, who were accompanied by a few other senior leading technical experts.

During the event the SEEHN acknowledged and celebrated its best achievement in the past years since its 3rd Health Ministerail Forum, 2011, Banja Luka, Bosnja and Herzegovina, namely

the  SEE 2020 Growth Strategy, endorsed by the SEE Economy Ministers, under the leadership of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) in Sarajevo.

For the first time in the history of the region and its cooperation in health, HEALTH has been recognized as a factor/determinant contributing to growth, economic development and wealth!

This is unprecedended fact and the SEEHN would like to express its gratitude, recognition and appreciations of:
  • all SEEHN political and leading experts for the intensive work in 2013, their motivation, dedication and contribution; thank you all; our most sincere and warm feelings go fo Selma, Adriana, Goran, Nand, Alex, Chris, Maria and all national counterparts and Directors of the SEE regional Health Development Centres (RHDC) in charge of the verious areas of health and health systems collaboration;
  • the RCC and its political and technical leadership; and
  • our best-ever friend and partner, WHO Regional Office for Europe and all poltical and technical leaders!
The SEE 2020 Growth Strategy has, for the first time, a chapter on Health, as a part of the inclusive Growth Pillar. There, based on global, European and own SEEHN evidence, for the first time there are health goals and targets, four strategic objectives and measures for implementation till 2020.

During a session, specially dedicated to the SEE 2020 Strategy and Health:
  • In a keynote speech, Sir Harry Burns, Chief Medical Officer of Scotland presented the Scottish Experience of Applying Inclusion Science to policies for improving Health and Growth, by retracing the economic turmoil in Scotland post WWII and its devastating impact on health. With Scotland acquiring decision powers in the health area, the health situation started to improve significantly and statistically corroborated (significant mortality reduction – people must feel in control and have access to support. For a change to come there must be a will, ideas and methods. While science must prevail over opinions, however dreams and visions are necessary – “I like my bedtime stories, it helps me to dream”.
  •  “Overview and implementation of the SEE 2020 Strategy”: Mr. Shani, RCC summarized this very important document, just signed by the Ministers of Economy of SEE in Sarajevo in November, it is a strategy on the way to the EU. Its focus on smart, integrated, sustainable and inclusive growth with a key health component, recognized as central for the first time – it is to be viewed as governance for growth – both centralized and decentralized actions are foreseen in four health components of pillar 4 – Inclusive Growth. Furthermore a monitoring mechanism is incorporated. 
  • “Health Actions in SEE2020 – Objectives and Indicators for inclusive growth”: Professor Sogoric, Member of the SEEHN Executive Committee spelled out the challenges facing Health in SEE: quality of care, poor or not known; lack of continuity of care; reduced function of primary care, unsustainable funding. There is a need in the Region to reduce differences of health status of population groups by increasing the health status of the most deprived. Increasng the management and capacity of health care (including human resources) is required. The main challenges of the health systems in the Region: - accessibility; increased efficacy; maintenance of costs. There is also the need to improve intersectoral governance and harmonization of cross border health.
  • These approaches were also supported by Dr. Chris Brown (WHO-Venice) and Romania (the upcoming Presidency of the SEEHN). Health in becoming a benefit and not a cost to the economy will emerge as a significant component for development.
  • The programming document to be elaborated  as soon as possible by the SEEHN is to be “A SEEHN health focused strategy document for inclusive growth independent of funding sources

Besides that extraordinary achievement, the 32nd Plenary Meeting focused on:

Partnership building with other organizations in health and related areas

MoU was signed with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) represented by Ms. Doina Bologa, who presented the activities of the Fund and its cooperation with a large number of other UN Agencies, stressing the issue of population dynamics – in particular significant aging of the population in SEE.

The activities of the European Centre for Peace and Dialogue (ECPD) were also presented. A number of NHC supported the establishment of a partnership – agreed in principle. The meeting concluded that the terms of reference and the object of a possible MoU have to be clarified by the Executive Committee for a decision at the next SEEHN meeting.

Montenegro Presidency Report

Dr. Gauden Galea, WHO Europe Director, Division of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD)  and  Health Promotion, presented an overview of the achievements in the countries of the SEEHN in a keynote speech. Plans for addressing NCD have been adopted in all the countries of the Network, often in collaboration with sectors other than health, with clear targets and indicators; all the countries have self-reporting surveys. However how decisions and data are used for action implementation is often not clear. The case of tobacco consumption was singled out as an example – highest ratification of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and highest use of tobacco in the Region.

The Presidency highlighted the SEEHN achievements during the second half of 2013 in an extensive report. The SEEHN has entered its second decade, with a clear commitment as a Network and Member Countries to take responsibility for the further development of partnerships and institution networks; it has started working on its health strategy 2020 with the purpose to ensure a longer-term vision and perspective in public health development in the region. During this period WHO Europe extended its support to the Secretariat of the SEEHN in Skopje.

SEEHN Secretariat and Funding

The countries that have not yet paid their 2013 contributions to the SEEHN were urged to do so urgently.

Macedonia will put additional effort to finalize its obligation which it has undertaken to provide adequate and appropriate working space and facilities form the Secretariat of the SEEHN, and it was urged to do so as soon as possible; it was thanked for its continued staff secondment to the Secretariat.

Secretariat has been asked to prepare financial report (related to the SEEHN funds received and spent in 2013) to be sent, accompanied by a letter, to  the SEEHN member states.

The meeting approved in principle the terms of reference for the recruitment of the staff for the Secretariat – minor suggestions can still be submitted to the Secretariat until December 6, 2013, then the call for candidatures will be published, with the aim for the SEEHN to finalize the selection of Secretariat staff at the June meeting of the SEEHN. A selection committee will be composed of: 2 WHO Staff, 1 from each SEEHN MS - Croatia, Macedonia and Israel, 2 of the co-opted members from the Executive Committee of the SEEHN. The working selection method will be that of WHO. The Selection Committee will propose its list to the SEEHN one month in advance of the June 2014 plenary for decision.
RHDC Reports and Operation

The work programme for the RHDC on NCD in Montenegro was presented by its Director to the SEEHN. It will be reviewed by the Executive Committee, with input requests from the SEEHN Members, for a Decision at the next SEEHN meeting.
The work of all 9 RHDC was presented, discussed and highly acknowledged. The leadership of the respective countries, hosting the RHDC, in the various public health and health systems areas of technical collaboration is to be commended. The Meeting expressed special gratitude to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and the Republics of Moldova and Serbia in that regards.

The full texts of the reports of the SEE RHDCs are available at request with the SEEHN Executive Committee at .

Furthermore a special meeting of the SEEHN NHC and of the Directors of the RHDC is to be organized prior to the next SEEHN plenary meeting to propose Operational Procedures for the RHDCs.

Roadmap for the 2014 (first half) Romanian Presidency of the SEEHN

The detailed roadmap was presented and well received. Additional comments and suggestions may be submitted to Romania by the end of the year, for Romania to adjust its plan if appropriate. The full text of the Romanian Presidency Roadmap is presented in Annex ….

TAIEX Workshop outcome and Draft Network Decision on Preventive Actions Against Excessive Salt Intake

The outcome of the TAIEX Workshop was presented by the Rapporteur (Dr. Alexandre Berlin) together with a draft Decision for the SEEHN. Preliminary reactions were very positive; minor adjustments are still possible until December 6 (to be submitted to the Rapporteurs – Dr. Berlin and Dr. Ruseva. The Decision will be then signed by the Montenegro President of the SEEHN. The draft Decision is enclosed in Annex … .

TAIEX 2014 Events

The SEEHN was informed again of the TAIEX requirement for 2014 to submit to them by early January a proposed list of SEEHN events for their consideration with for each proposed event:
·         title and object;
·         nature (workshop, study visit; expert mission);
·         specific Acquis Communautaire;
·         expected outcome
·         length -half page total.
Each proposal is to be sent to Alexandre Berlin and Maria Ruseva, as well as the Chair of the SEEHN Executive Committee by December 17, 2013. An agreed list of up to 8 events will be prepared and submitted to TAIEX for their preliminary consideration.

On 28th November, the Council of Europe, the other founding partner of the SEEHN, had a special event.
Please follow us! News on it will come in our next post!






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