WFPHA Newsletter March 2016

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  In this Newsletter:

1.- A Global Charter for the Public's Health

The A Global Charter for the Public's Health (GCPH) is the main output of WFPHA collaboration plan with the World Health Organization (WHO) to adapt today’s public health to its global context in the light of and in conjunction with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


The Charter aims to bring together the best of all the existing models and provide a comprehensive, clear and flexible framework that can be applied globally and within individual countries, whether low, middle or high-income. It has the potential to become an established framework to allow public health systems to communicate globally, compare capacity and improve performance through systematic action.


“Taking action to improve the public’s health is set to move into a higher gear” according to Dr. Mengistu Asnake, President of the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA). “Releasing a template for action to improve health in the modern world makes a timely contribution”.


“Besides the fundamentals of public health, which are related to things like epidemics, statistics, clean water and sanitation - an all-inclusive view, especially a political one, will be the focus the Charter can bring forward”, emphasizes Prof. Borisch.


“Public health associations across the world will be advocating with Governments encouraging them to take into account the impact of social, environmental and behavioral health determinants. These include economic constraints, living conditions, demographic changes and unhealthy lifestyles in many of the World Health Organization Member States”, concluded Prof. Moore.


Figure1The Charter has been recently published in the European Journal of Public Health in association with an editorial underlying that the role of GCPH is  to ensure a comprehensive approach to tackle the threats to health everywhere.


The Charter will be officially presented during the WFPHA General Assembly in May and around the upcoming World Health Assembly, just to cite few events.


WFPHA will soon start a phase of implementation of the Charter and invites all its members and partners to engage in this process. Stay tuned!

Full articles:

1. A Global Charter for the Public’s Health—the public health system: role, functions, competencies and education requirements

Marta Lomazzi

The European Journal of Public Health 2016 26 (2): 210-212


To read the editorial, click here.


2. The Global Charter for the Publics Health (editorial)

Michael Moore; Martin McKee; Bettina Borisch; Walter Ricciardi
The European Journal of Public Health 2016 26 (2): 207
DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckw013 

To read the editorial, click here.


Background papers:

1. Global public health today: connecting the dots

Marta Lomazzi, Christopher Jenkins and Bettina Borisch

Glob Health Action 2016, 9: 28772

DOI: 10.3402/gha.v9.28772

To read the article, click here.


2. Global Public Health: A Review and Discussion of the Concepts, Principles and Roles of Global Public Health in Today's Society

Chris Jenkins, Marta Lomazzi, Heather Yeatman, Bettina Borisch

Global Policy 2015

DOI: 10.1111/1758-5899.12302

To read the article, click here.


2.- WFPHA and WHO Official Relations

hands holding jigsaw 202588According to the World Health Organization, “the global health landscape has become more complex in many respects; among other things, there has been an increase in the number of players including non-State actors. WHO engages with non-State actors in view of their significant role in global health for the advancement and promotion of public health and to encourage non-State actors to use their own activities to protect and promote public health. »In its last meeting, the WHO Executive Board, after reviewing the collaboration plan between WFPHA and WHO, decided to maintain the official relations between the organizations. In making this decision, the Board commended the continuing dedication of WFPHA in support of the work of WHO. WFPHA takes this opportunity to thank all the members and collaborators that support the work developed by WFPHA in its Geneva headquarters or throughout the world by its national and regional public health associations.


3.- From MDGs to SDGs, a health perspective

2016 has inaugurated a new era of collaboration between and within countries in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Seventeen SDGs replaced eight Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) that were settled to guide the 2000-2015 agenda. In addition to the increased number of goals and its correspondent challenge of implementation, the SDGs involved a more comprehensive and included approach of creation. Scientists, politicians and civil society worked together to establish the goals that are going to guide political decisions until 2030.


In the 2030 agenda, there are 17 interrelated goals and one exclusevely dedicated to health. Goal number 3 sets out to : “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. According to WHO, the 13 health-targets under goal number 3 "build on progress made on the MDGs and reflect a new focus on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and the achievement of universal health coverage".


MDGs on maternal mortality, child mortality and infectious diseases have been retained in the SDGs framework, but increased to more ambitious targets. In addition, it expanded to include neonatal mortality and more infectious diseases such as neglected tropical diseases, hepatitis and water-borne diseases."Targets on access to sexual and reproductive health-care services and access to vaccines and medicines are also closely related to the MDG targets", says WHO report "The SDGs : Reflections on the implications and challenges for health".


The SDGs incorporated new targets on NCDs and mental health, substance abuse, injuries, health impact from hazardous chemicals, water and soil pollution and contamination. Moreover, it included a target to strength the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which is, together with the International Health Regulation, the only binding health-related mechanism. Among many provisions, it suggests price and tax measures to reduce the demand for tobacco.


According to WHO report, "Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is also a new point, which provides an overall framework for the implementation of a broad and ambitious agenda in all countries. UHC is the only target that cuts across all targets of the health goals, as well as addresses linkages with health-related targets in the other goals".


Because health and social and environmental determinants have a mutual relation, it is possible to find many health aspects in many goals beyond number 3. "To address the multisectoral nature of health determinants requires the political will to engage the whole of government in health. The health sector should promote “Health in All Policies”, an approach to public policies across sectors that systematically takes into account the health implications of decisions, seeks synergies and avoids harmful health impacts in order to improve population health and health equity and address the social determinants of health", says the WHO report.


The SDGs are ambitious and the implementation of all its 169 targets is a challenge for all people involved in this process. For Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director-General of Health Systems and Innovation at WHO, "one of the biggest challenges will be measuring progress across a staggering number of targets, particularly with the lack of health data in developing countries. The SDG monitoring requires regular, high-quality data, for example on the causes of death, from all population groups so that we know where we need to target resources."


4.- News from our Members

International Federation of Medical Students' Associations (IFMSA)

Capacity building is one of the most effective public health approaches to build up a strong network of public health leaders skilled to measure the impact of their activities and act upon them while thinking about the bigger picture and other health-related aspects. Recently, within the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), several 3-day trainings have been organized for this purpose, in the occasion of regional and annual global meetings, including the pre-General Assembly in Malta (27th of February -2nd of March 2016), named ‘Public Health Leadership Training’ (PHLT). According to Skander Essafi, IFMSA Liaison Officer for Public Health issues, "the workshop were a great success, as the 18 medical students improved their leadership and communication skills in specific public health issues such as climate change and health, refugees and health, as well as the obesity epidemic. On the last day of the workshop, we had a field trip to the maltese health ministry officers, to know about health policy implementation in Malta. We also discussed specific areas of collaboration in public health. This was a great opportunity to strengthen our partnership with maltese students, but also to explore other countries perspectives, and to set an example for medical students on opportunities for policy and health promotion and implementation". The attendees of the PHLT were expected to gain knowledge in the following areas:

  • Define public health, global health and international health, as well as levels of prevention and the areas of intervention from problem identification to action.

  • Defining the global health system and global health actors, in order to have a critical eye on the current system, discuss what is the role of their medical students associations and IFMSA in the process.

  • Supporting members in development of their own public health related projects and campaigns, including feedback and evaluation processes

  • Learning basics of public health epidemiology and research, and analyze specific articles in the methodology and content.

  • Build capacity in policy making and policy intervention, and compare

  • Highlighting opportunities for student involvement.

Another public health training took place in Montevideo, Uruguay 14-17th January 2016. For more information, please refer to the report.

Slovak Public Health Association

Citizens in the new EU Member States have shorter life expectancy and worse health status than people in older EU countries. The Visegrad Four (V4) group – Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – can be more efficient in preventing and managing chronic diseases. Public health experts from the four countries feel their shared historical, political and economic contexts make multidimensional approach and intersectoral collaboration more feasible for achieving these goals.Representatives from the four countries came together for the V4 conference on non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The event was hosted by the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic - Institute of Health Policies; World Health Organization - Regional Office for Europe; Pavol Jozef Safarik University - Faculty of Medicine, Kosice, Slovakia and the Slovak Public Health Association (SAVEZ). The collaborating partners were the Czech Medical Association of J.E. Purkyne, Czech Republic; University of Debrecen - Faculty of Public Health, Hungary; Medical University of Silesia, Poland; and the European Public Health Association (EUPHA). The aim of the V4 conference on NCDs was to create a multi-stakeholder platform for discussing ideas on chronic non-communicable disease prevention and management in Europe and in V4 countries in particular and to provide insight into the areas for future action identified by the public health experts and how this relates to EU policy priorities or national priorities.

The meeting:

  • Introduced most recent WHO-Europe strategic documents that aim to guide movement in the desired direction and to assist Member States and the WHO European Region in reaching the goal and in achieving its vision;

  • Debated new evidence on the status of chronic disease prevention, control and management in Europe, and current developments in the field;

  • Identified common approaches to develop the evidence and information base needed to guide policy;

  • Shared innovative approaches and collaborating at national and subnational levels in trialling innovative policies and practices for tackling NCDs, thereby strengthening the evidence base for effective mechanisms as well as the translation of findings to inform policy development and actions.

The common underlying theme of the conference was the need for strengthening the health systems to address the prevention and control of NCDs and the social determinants through people-centred primary health care and universal health coverage throughout the life cycle. Services provided within the primary care should, next to traditional curative patient care, include also health promotion in community settings, health status assessment, medical risk assessment, lifestyle counselling, and chronic care with rehabilitation focus. Future healthcare systems should be person-centred, integrated, technology enabled, promoting partnership and collaboration approach to care delivery, and flexible - understanding the need for a change. 

For more information about the conference please visit the conference web-site here. Watch the full keynotes by clicking here.   


5.- Members' Newsletters


6.- WFPHA Members Communication

General Assembly

The 2016 General Assembly will take place on Sunday, May 22nd, from 9 am to 4 pm at the John Knox Center, in Geneva, Switzerland.

69th World Health Assembly

The 69th World Health Assembly will take place in Geneva from May 23rd to 28th..Documents and provisional agenda are available here

WFPHA @ Social Medias

WFPHA has recently inaugurated a new Facebook page to share with its members, partners and followers information about events, publications and updates about WFPHA work. Click here and follow us.


Do not forget that WFPHA is also part of Linkedin.


Join us in all social medias!


7.- WFPHA Working Groups

New Co-Chair at the Environmental Health Working Group

Professor MC Asuzu from Nigeria is the new co-chair with Peter Orris of the Environmental Health Working Group (EHWG). He is a professor of public health and community medicine at the two Faculties of Public Health and of Clinical Sciences of the College of Medicine of the University of Ibadan in Nigeria.

He is also consultant clinical epidemiologist, community and occupational physician at the University College Hospital in Ibadan.

He had been the Head of the Department of Community Medicine at both the University College and Hospital at Ibadan. He had served onthe Faculty Board of the Faculty of Public Health of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria since 1995 and was faculty secretary and chairman in succession for two terms each, between 2001 and 2009.

He has led the faculty in developing the residency training programme for the Nigerian fellowship programme in occupational and environmental medicine. He had also been on the executive committee of the Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria since 1985 and its national chairman for two consecutive terms between 2005 and 2009.

He is the founding president of the Society for Public Health Professionals of Nigeria established in 2012. He has conducted research and other services for the WHO, the federal, state and local governments in Nigeria in the areas of public health and occupational health and is very active in the teaching and clinical services in these fields, with very numerous publications thereof.

Oral Health Working Group: Global Child Dental Fund - 2015 Annual Review

The 2015 Annual Review of the Global Child Dental Fund has recently been published. It highlights the importance of leadership development as a powerful weapon in the fight to significantly reduce poor oral health, especially for children. All the new initiatives, such as the comprehensive online course in Advanced Dental Leadership (ADL) are described in the report, as well as all the work developed by the Fund during 2015.

Click here to read the complete 2015 annual review.


8.- What's on

UNDP Report - Work for Human Development

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) presented the  2015 Human Development Report on Monday 18 January 2016 at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva. It highlighted the importance of work in human development. According to the report, work is intrinsic to human development. “When positive, work provides benefits beyond material wealth and fosters community, knowledge, strengthens dignity and inclusion.” On the other hand, “when negative, in the form of forced labour, child labour and human trafficking, work can violate human rights, threaten freedom and shatter dignity”.

Click here for a summary of the report. Full report available here.

Preventing disease through healthy environment

WHO has recently published an assessment on the burden of disease from environmental risks. According to the institution, an estimated 12.6 million people died as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment in 2012 – nearly 1 in 4 of total global deaths. Environmental risk factors, such as air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change, and ultraviolet radiation, contribute to more than 100 diseases and injuries.According to the latest report, non-communicable diseases related to air pollution such as stroke, heart disease, cancers and chronic respiratory disease, correspond to nearly two-thirds of the total deaths caused by unhealthy environments, which has incredibly increased since the report published almost one decade ago. The main message emerging from this new comprehensive global assessment is that premature death and disease can be prevented through healthier environments – and to a significant degree.

Full assessment is available here.

Geneva Preparations for the Second Session of the United Nations Environmental Assembly

uneaThe second session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) will take place at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, under the overarching theme of Delivering on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, from 23-27 May 2016. The Assembly, which represents the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment, will culminate in resolutions and a global call to action to address the critical environmental challenges facing the world today.UNEA-2 will feature a number of high-level events on areas of expertise of International Geneva. A special event to prepare Geneva-based stakeholders to UNEA-2 organized by the Geneva Environment Network, UNEP Regional Office for Europe and UN-NGLS, on Monday 4 April.

Prof. Bettina Borisch, WFPHA exectutive director, will be one of the speakers.

More information available here.


9.- Meetings and Committees reports

Meeting with Mr. Michael Møller, UNOG Secretary General

The World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA) followed on the 25th of February a meeting with Mr. Michael Møller, UNOG Director-General, held at the Palais des Nations. All the NGOs in consultation status with ECOSOC were invited to attend the meeting that aimed to open discussions that can strength relations between NGOs and the NGO Liaison department of the United Nations in Geneva.


The so-called migration crisis is part of the UNOG's priorities for 2016, as described by the Secretary General. He estressed the need of an immediate and urgent solution for the syrians. In addition, Mr. Møller reiterated the necessity of rethinking systems in which it is possible to cope with migratory flows, especially in a moment where "climate migrants“ start to be a reality. Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of investing in prevention that can avoid the flows to happen, especially those related to security.


Michael Møller presented his concern about the ongoing financial crisis. "Geneva has seen larger cuts in a moment where workloads increase". According to him, UNOG will have to stop its work in some areas, unless they are specifically financed.


The implementation process of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was largely discussed during the meeting. Mr Møller highlighted the importance of NGOs in the process of achieving all the SDGs. "2016 should be the year to open a much more integrated way to work together to achieve the Goals", said.


Different from the Millenium Developmen Goals, the SDGs were established in a much more comprehensive approach, with an open process that included many and different actors and not only governments. Implementing the 17 goals and all its 169 targets will not be an easy task. Non governamental organizations will play an important role "bringing knowledge and spreading information", said the secretary general.


10.- Publications

A survey of the governance capacity of national public health associations to enhance population health

James Chauvin, Mahesh Shukla, James Rice and Laetitia Rispel

BMC Public Health 201616:251 DOI: 10.1186/s12889-016-2935-y


"A survey of the governance capacity of national public health associations to enhance population health” has been published by BMC Public Health. The article reports on the results of the WFPHA survey of its public health association members in September 2014, about their governance practices and structure, as well as the governance-related issues they face.
During 2014, the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA) conducted an on-line survey with 82 national public health association members, to identify the state of organizational governance of national public health associations, as well as the factors that influence optimal organizational governance. The survey focused on the main elements of organizational governance: cultivating accountability; engaging stakeholders; setting shared direction; stewarding resources; and, continuous governance enhancement.  
The survey confirmed that organizational governance is both perceived as being critical to and has an impact on the effectiveness of public health associatons in their role as advocates to improve, protect and promote the public’s health. Several factors that limit effective governance, such as the role and effectiveness of volunteers, mentorship and leadership training and cultivating a culture of good governance and accountability, can be dealt with internally. Others, such as building alliances, engaging stakeholders and creating solidarity and movement forward on global public health issues, will require external collaboration and partnerships. The WFPHA has an important role to play in providing the technical assistance and financial resources to assist PHAs in attaining and sustaining a higher level of governance capacity.

Click here and read the full article.

11.- Upcoming events

Regional Public Health Conference

News from ASEAN Institute for Health Development

Principle I of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development states that “Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature”. The goals of sustainable development cannot be achieved when there is a high prevalence of debilitating illnesses, and population health cannot be maintained without ecologically sustainable development.

The Asia Pacific Conference on Public Health is convened annually. In 2016, the ASEAN Institute for Health Development, Mahidol University in collaboration with the National Health Association of Thailand and Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health of Thailand will co-organize the 6th Asia-Pacific Conference on Public Health (APCPH) with the theme of Public Health Approaches toward Sustainable Development, on August 23 to 26, 2016 at the Asia Hotel Bangkok, Thailand.The objectives of this conference are to bring together researchers, policy makers, donors and international organizations, civil society, and communities to exchange information, views, and experiences on recent advances in the field of public health and sustainable development and to enhance skills in health promotion consistent with the context of countries in the region. The conference will cover keynote addresses and panel discussion from distinguished personalities in the field of public health. In line with the conference theme, we will provide a highly interactive platform to all delegates from across Asia and the Pacific region.

Various informative and small group presentations will be planned under the topics of:

- Public Health and Disease Surveillance

- Determinants of Disease and Epidemics

- Health Promotion, Prevention and Protection

- Alliances for Health and Sustainable Development

- Innovative Primary Health Care for Sustainable Development

- District Health System Management Learning: Transformative Learning 


Keynote speakers:

  • Prof. Dr. Bettina Borisch, Executive Director of World Federation of Public Health Associations, Switzerland

  • Prof. Dr. Howard Hu, Dean of Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Canada

  • Prof. Dr. Prakit Vathesatokit, Executive Secretary of the Action on Smoking and Health Foundation, Thailand

  • Prof. Dr. Peter Schwarz, University of Dresden, Germany

  • Prof. Dr. Kyungho Choi, School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Korea

  • Dr. Yang Weizhong, Director of WFPHA/Asia-Pacific Regional Liaison Office and Executive Vice President and Secretary General of Chinese Preventive Medicine Association, China

On-line registration and abstract submission can be made through the Conference website.


Important deadlines and dates:

Abstract Submission: October 1, 2015 – March 31, 2016

Notification of Acceptance: April 20, 2016

Early-bird Registration: March 1 – June 30, 2016

Regular Registration: July 1 – August 15, 2016

Full Paper Submission Deadline: June 30, 2016

For more information, visit the conference website or mail to

15th World Congress on Public Health


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