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Dear colleagues,

three years after the 12th World Congress of the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA) in Istanbul we shall convene for our 13th Congress in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from Monday April 23 - Friday April 27, 2012. The overall theme is: Towards Global Health Equity: Opportunities and Threats.

Today I write to you well in advance of the Congress to seek your preliminary agreement on the following invitation to organise a concurrent Invited Session of 90 minutes on a topic of your choice and/or submit a free abstract for a presentation. For detailed information and the Call for Abstracts, click here

In case you accept to organise a session, please click here for submission

Abstracts of Invited Sessions are reviewed by the Organisational Core Group (chairs: Ulrich Laaser & Tewabech Bishaw) of the International Scientific Committee.

The disclaimer statement informing organisers that sessions are not financed by WFPHA had to be placed for legal reasons. We assume that speakers proposed for your session are self-financed respectively attending the13th World Congress in Addis Ababa anyway.

Please feel free to approach me regarding any questions you may have in this regard.

In Istanbul we had well over 1000 presentations or posters. Our experience was that the free slots for presentations or sessions closed rapidly. Therefore I would like to advise you to indicate your interest to organise a session soon, in any case before the 21st October 2011.

Waiting to hear from you,

Sincerely yours,

Ulrich Laaser

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13th World Congress on Public Health

Moving Towards Global Health Equity: Opportunities and Threats

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 23-27 April 2012


Official Congress website: click here.

Call for Abstracts (submission deadline: 21 October 2011): click here.



The 45th Annual General Assembly of the WFPHA took place on the 15th of May in Geneva. It was a pleasure to welcome 45 guests from all over the world to the Graduate Institute (a WFPHA sustaining member organization) for this event. Prof. Ulrich Laaser, WFPHA’s President, opened the meeting by recalling the most important issues of 2010, looking forward positively towards 2011, and with a reminder to all about the forthcoming 13th World Congress on Public Health, to take place in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) in April 2012.

Joan Bell Davenport, formerly WFPHA’s Honorary Treasurer, presented the Federation’s financial report for 2010. Following this, an award was presented to her in recognition of her several years of voluntary services to the Federation. 


Joan Bell Davenport has received an award in in recognition of her several years of voluntary services to the Federation.

Dr. Tewabech Bishaw, President of the Ethiopian Public Health Association, presented a synopsis of activities and achievements concerning the plans and preparation for the next World Congress. She extended a warm invitation to all WFPHA member associations and their members to attend this important triennial public health event.  Prof. Laaser informed the Assembly that the nomination by the EPHA of Prof. Redha Tekla Haimanot, a renowned Ethiopian public health professional, for the 2012 Leavell Lecturer Award had been confirmed by the WFPHA Executive Board, and as well that the 2012 WFPHA Lifetime Achievement Award would be conferred on Margaret Hilson, a former WFPHA President and long-time Director of Global Health at the Canadian Public Health Association, in recognition of her important contribution to the establishment and nurturing of public health associations around the world.  Prof. Laaser then asked the members present to take a minute to remember Professor Dogramaci, the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award winner, who passed away in 2010.

Rebecca Bailey, WFPHA’s designated Technical Officer at WHO, presented an update on the achievements of the joint WHO-WFPHA collaboration plan. She reminded the Assembly that the two-year collaborative plan will come up for renewal in 2012. WFPHA is invited to begin conceptualizing the elements for a renewed plan.

A special guest speaker, Dr. Attaran, Associate Professor in the Faculties of Law and Medicine at the University of Ottawa (Canada), made a very interesting presentation on the issue of counterfeit medicines. He highlighted the need for an international treaty on this important global public health issue, for which he will be advocating with national government delegations at the 2011 World Health Assembly. He called on the WFPHA and national Public Health Associations to take this issue seriously.

Several WFPHA business items were then presented to the Assembly for its approval and information:

•          The Assembly approved the recommendation of the Executive Board to accept the Afghanistan National Public Health Association as a Full Member, and four organizations (Dubai Health Authority, Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria, Njala University Public Health Association of Sierra Leone and the Taiwan Public Health Association) as Sustaining Members. The Assembly was informed that the recommendation regarding the application for membership by the Gambia Association of Public Health Officers was pending, awaiting clarification by GAPHO about its organizational status; Persuant to a decision taken last year, a second Executive Board seat for an African WFPHA member was filled, with the election to the EB for a three-year term of the Public Health Association of South Africa, represented by its President, Dr. Laetitia Rispel. The vacant seat for the Americas region was filled with the election to the EB for a three-year term of Brazilian Association for Collective Health (ABRASCO), represented by its President, Dr. Luiz Augusto Facchini. The EB seat for the Eastern Mediterranean region remains vacant;

•          Markus Kaufmann of the Swiss Society of Public Health was elected as the new Honorary Treasurer for a 2-year term, and Jacqueline de la Cruz approved by the Assembly as the new auditor for 2011;

•          The selection of the 2015 Congress host has been deferred. A selection committee will be established over the summer and its recommendation will be announced to WFPHA members in Autumn 2011;

•          Jim Chauvin, WFPHA Vice-President and President-Elect and Chair of the Finance Committee, made a brief presentation about the Federation’s 2011 budget, which was subsequently approved by the Assembly;

•          Two resolutions were adopted. The first, on Armed Conflict and War, submitted by the APHA, was approved with small revisions. The second resolution, on Prison Health, submitted by the APHA and UKPHA, was accepted with the revisions as recommended by the Policy Committee.

Reports from the Chairs of the four WFPHA Working Groups were then presented. Dr. Peter Orris (APHA) made a brief presentation about the activities and achievements of the Environmental Working Group, Dr. Ehud Miron (IPHA) about the work of the Public Health Education Working Group, and Debbie Klein-Walker (APHA) on behalf of the Global Health Equity Working Group. Jim Chauvin presented the draft work plan received from Dr. Mike Daube (PHAA), Chair of the WFPHA’s Tobacco Control Working Group.

The General Assembly concluded with a reminder that the 2012 GA will take place on April 23, 2012, during the 13th World Congress on Public Health. All WFPHA member associations are encouraged to attend. The General Assembly was then closed officially by the WFPHA President, and participants were invited to attend the WFPHA reception at the neighboring History of science museum.  Several guests of honour attended, including Dr. David Butler-Jones, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, who was leading the Canadian delegation to the WHA.

A photo of WFPHA member association representatives in attendance at the reception following the 2011 General Assembly:


Welcome to the new WFPHA Members

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Afghanistan National Public Health Association (ANPHA)

ANPHA is Afghanistan’s first and only non-governmental national association for public health. It aims to promote public health objectives and evidence-based quality public health practice. ANPHA is committed to advocating for public health system reform and communicating the latest public health policies, innovations and practices. It supports initiatives and emphasizes result-based approaches through the constitution of a collaborative, powerful and credible national and international network.  ANPHA joined the WFPHA in 2011 as a Full Member.


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Dubai Health Authority/Public Health Affair Department (DHA)

DHA provides a quality healthcare system in Dubai by setting and ensuring policies and strategies for healthcare in public and private hospitals and clinics in Dubai. DHA works to ensure that public health is protected and the quality of life is improved. It provides health strategy for Dubai to meet future needs, ensures partnerships between public and private health service providers, provides licensing and regulation across the Dubai Health Sector and strives to increase the transparency and accountability of the healthcare system in the emirate. DHA joined the WFPHA in 2011 as a Sustaining Member.


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Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN)

APHPN is a professional association made up of Public Health/Community Health Physicians in Nigeria. APHPN’s aims and objectives are promoting public health, community and allied medicine, maintaining the highest standards and ethical practice of the health profession, promoting improvement in the practice, training and research in public health and community medicine, promoting improvement in the health of all people in Nigeria and expressing its views on all proposed legislation and development plans affecting public health, community medicine, and the medical and dental professions. APHPN joined the WFPHA in 2011 as a Sustaining Member.


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Njala University Public Health Association of Sierra Leone (NUPHA)

NUPHA is the first public health association in Sierra Leone. NUPHA was officially launched in November 2010 as a not-for-profit organization. The Association has become a major policy maker for the government and people of Sierra Leon. NUPHA represents a broad array of health professionals (Public health students and graduates as well as staffs of Njala and non Njala University who are interested in public health). It main objectives are to empower, develop, and promote Sierra Leonean public health activities at both community and national level. It also aims to protect all Sierra Leoneans from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure that community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities become universally accessible in Sierra Leone. NUPHA joined the WFPHA in 2011 as a Sustaining Member.


Taiwan Public Health Association (TPHA)

TPHA was founded in 1972 and currently has 180 institutional and 1,548 individual members. It brings together academics and professionals from the field of public health in Taiwan to promote research and development in public health, to provide a professional network for members, and to improve the quality of health for all. TPHA publishes the Taiwan Journal of Public Health bimonthly, and organizes an annual conference and academic symposiums. The TPHA hosted the Asia Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health (APACPH) Conferences in 2005 and again in 2009.  The TPHA became a WFPHA Sustaining Member in 2011.



During 2010, the Vietnam Public Health Association (VPHA), a WFPHA member since 2006, implemented with the five objectives of its strategic plan:

1.         To develop effective VPHA organizational structure at central, provincial and district levels;

2.         To strengthen the advocacy role of VPHA through supporting and promoting the practical use of public health research in development and implementation of public health policies and programs;

3.         To strengthen and develop VPHA affiliation capacities including the VPHA members as well as other key professionals and decision makers in the field of health development;

4.         To promote resource mobilization and network with local and international public health organizations as well as other related organizations; and,

5.         To provide timely and accurate information on public health policies, programs and research through a wide range of dissemination channels.

Several public health interventions were carried out in Provincial Public Health branches. These included a project to reduce the health risks associated with exposure to Agent Orange in a hotspot located in Da Nang province, a health promotion initiative for the elderly in Tien Hai Thai Binh province, and the application of reproductive health policy for youth in Dong Thap province. VPHA branches also conducted media campaigns on different public health issues. VPHA also conducted a program to implement a smoke-free policy in six provinces. The results from these initiatives were used to advocate for a ban on fishing at a contaminated pond in the Da Nang hotspot (approved by the district authorities), a provincial five-year plan for youth reproductive health in Dong Thap and the implementation of a tobacco control law to be enforced as of in 2012. Different trainings and capacity building activities were also conducted for key staff of VPHA and provincial offices.

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Health promotion initiative for the elderly

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Discussion on dioxin prevention


Addressing the Challenge of Non-Communicable Diseases

In May 2010, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a high-level meeting to address the global burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). As a result, the UN will convene on September 19 and 20 in New York City the world’s first High-Level Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases. The Summit will address the prevention and control of NCDs worldwide, focusing on four major diseases (cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung disease) and four common risk factors (tobacco, physical inactivity, poor diet and harmful use of alcohol), with a particular focus on developmental and other challenges and social and economic impacts. It is anticipated that the meeting will generate global momentum and commitment to implement the Global Strategy for the Prevention and Control of NCDs and its related 2008-2013 Action Plan.

Several NGOs and global coalitions, such as the NCD Alliance and the NCD Action Network, have advocated over the past few years for full commitment and action on this issue and for a strong civil society voice to guide the decisions taken. In April 2011, the WHO held in Moscow a one-day global forum Addressing the Challenge of Noncommunicable Diseases as an opportunity for civil society to provide input to the first global ministerial conference on healthy lifestyles and non-communicable disease control (which took place immediately following the Global Forum). The Forum’s participants provided the following advice to the WHO:

a) Many sectors, including those outside of the conventional health sector, give that NCDs are not uniquely a health system challenge, must be brought together to take action on this issue;

b) Leadership is needed, in Governments as well as in/among NGOs, private sectors, general public;

c) Practical and realistic targets and benchmarks are needed to measure progress; and,

d) Engagement of all stakeholders is necessary.

WFPHA was represented at the Global Forum and at the Ministerial meeting on healthy lifestyles and NCD control by Dr. Andrey Demine, President of the Russian Public Health Association. Details about the WHO Global Forum are available here. The Moscow Declaration (the output from the Ministerial meeting) can be accessed here.

On June 16, 2011, an informal interactive hearing with non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, the private sector and academia was held in New York City, to provide input to the preparatory process for the UN Summit. The conclusions of the hearing reconfirmed the conclusions drawn at the Moscow Global Forum. A few of the more important points raised at the New York consultation included:

a) Countries should move urgently to prevent and control NCDs to alleviate the significant social, economic and health impact these diseases are having, which is now compromising development gains;

b) There is a strong consensus that NCDs are a development issue and urgently need to be afforded greater priority in national health and development plans, and a higher priority in government funding decision;

c) The complex drivers of NCDs require multi-stakeholder action, and countries should put in place a mechanism to engage all the sectors needed for an effective response;

d) Addressing the key risk factors for NCDs will require involvement of government, communities, civil society, non-government organizations, academia and the private sector;

f) Countries should prioritize the implementation of the most cost-effective population and individual level interventions to prevent NCDs, some of which are in fact cost saving, to ensure they are getting the best value for money from existing expenditure;

h) Countries should continue to strengthen NCD surveillance and monitoring to inform and guide NCD policy and action at both national and international levels; and,

j) The outcome document for the High-level Meeting must have clear objectives and measurable indicators, supported by a monitoring and evaluation function.

Details about this consultative meeting are available on the website.

The WFPHA issued a Statement on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) during the WHO Executive Board’s 128th session held in Geneva in January 2011. The Federation urges that particular attention be paid to strengthening national public health systems and functions of national health systems and expand the health sector workforce. WFPHA also advocates for a strong civil society voice and the active participation of national public health associations and allied groups in national and global response to NCDs. The Federation will participate to the High-level Meeting on NCDs in September and renew its engagement for reducing the global burden of NCDs.

To read

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The WHO has published “Stop the global epidemic of chronic disease: A practical guide to successful advocacy”. This manual is a guide and practical tool for all advocates of chronic disease prevention and control.

It presents a simple seven-step plan for effective advocacy, including identifying target audiences, developing key messages and selecting implementation strategies.

This manual is part of a larger WHO advocacy toolkit on preventing chronic disease.

Go to the manual


UN resolution on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases: An opportunity for global action

Hadii M. Mamudua, Joshua S. Yangb and Thomas E. Novotnyc

Go to the article


UN High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases: addressing four questions

Robert Beaglehole, Ruth Bonita, George Alleyne, Richard Horton, Prof Liming Li, Paul Lincoln, Jean Claude Mbanya, Martin McKee , Rob Moodie, Sania Nishtai, Peter Piot, K Srinath Reddy, David Stuckler

Go to the article



Global health diplomacy: how foreign policy can influence health

Ilona Kickbusch, director Global Health Programme, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, Switzerland

BMJ 2011; 342:d3154 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d3154 (Published 10 June 2011)

 “…..There are four ways in which foreign policy and health can interact. Foreign policy can endanger health when diplomacy breaks down or when trade considerations trump health; health can be used as an instrument of foreign policy in order to achieve other goals; health can be an integral part of foreign policy; and foreign policy can be used to promote health goals. These approaches cannot always be sharply differentiated and are better visualized as a continuum.

Health is an integral part of the global agenda

Health is on the radar of foreign policy because it has become integral to three global agendas:

Security—driven by the fear of global pandemics or the intentional spread of pathogens and an increase in humanitarian conflicts, natural disasters, and emergencies

Economic—concerned not only with the economic effect of poor health on development or of pandemic outbreaks on the global market place but also the gain from the growing global market in health goods and services

Social justice—reinforcing health as a social value and human right, supporting the United Nations millennium development goals, advocating for access to medicines and primary health care, and calling for high income countries to invest in a broad range of global health initiatives. ….”

Go to the article


WHO Bulletin reports on fetal alcohol syndrom

Since the term was coined about 40 years ago, fetal alcohol syndrome has slowly become recognized as a public health issue. Alicestine October reports from South Africa’s Western Cape Province, which has the highest reported rate in the world.

Go to the article


The impact of user fees on access to health services in low- and middle-income countries

Mylene Lagarde, Natasha Palmer

Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD009094. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009094.

The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. April 2011

Following an international push for financing reforms, many low- and middle-income countries introduced user fees to raise additional revenue for health systems. User fees are charges levied at the point of use and are supposed to help reduce  “frivolous” consumption of health services, increase quality of services available and, as a result, increase utilization of services.

The review suggests that reducing or removing user fees increases the utilization of certain healthcare services. However, emerging evidence suggests that such a change may have unintended consequences on utilization of preventive services and service quality.

The review also found that introducing or increasing fees can have a negative impact on health services utilization, although some evidence suggests that when implemented with quality improvements these interventions could be beneficial.

Go to the article



United Nations High-level Meeting on noncommunicable disease prevention and control

New York, USA, 19-20 September 2011

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The four main noncommunicable diseases - cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung diseases and diabetes - kill three in five people worldwide, and cause great socioeconomic harm within all countries, particularly developing nations.

The decision by the United Nations General Assembly to convene a High-level Meeting on NCDs presents a unique opportunity for the international community to take action against the epidemic, save millions of lives and enhance development initiatives.

Details are available here.


World Conference on Social Determinants of Health

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 19-21 October 2011

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The aim of the World Conference on Social Determinants of Health is to bring Member States and other actors together to catalyze high level political support for national policies to address social determinants of health to reduce health inequities. Its specific objectives are to:

a) Strengthen political commitment by Member States to develop and implement national policies on social determinants of health to reduce health inequities;

b) Share experiences, challenges and technical knowledge on addressing social determinants of health, taking into account the need for strengthening governance arrangements and learning from different contexts.

Conference participation and outcome - The 'Rio Declaration'

Details are available here.


Conference Welfare Development and Health

Copenhagen, Denmark, 10-12 November 2011

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The European Public Health Conference aims to contribute to the improvement of public health in Europe by offering a means for exchanging information and a platform for debate to researchers, policy makers, practitioners in the field of public health, public health training and education and health services research in Europe.

“……Public health contributes to welfare by means of health promotion, health protection, disease prevention and health services. Such interventions represent investments in a better health and better life for populations – a contribution to welfare. At the same time, they contribute to a healthy labour force.

Read the brochure

Details are available here


Global Alcohol Policy Conference

Bangkok, Thailand, 28-30 November 2011

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The conference will mark an important milestone for global alcohol control efforts following on from the endorsement of the WHO Global Strategy on Alcohol in 2010. The conference will bring together leaders from all over the world who are committed to working towards the development and implementation of effective alcohol policy free from commercial influence. It will provide an opportunity for policy makers, advocates, academics, and campaigners to share and exchange their knowledge and experience. The conference will also be a platform for developing a truly global network and for discussing future efforts at the global level to reduce problems from alcohol.

Details are available on the here.



WHO Director (HQ/11/IER/FT220)



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