Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future

Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future 

Over half the children in the world and most adults have had dental cavities. Oral health is a key determinant of overall health. The WFPHA has set up a public health coalition with the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future. The Alliance is a worldwide group of experts who have joined together to promote integrated clinical and public health action in order to stop caries initiation and progression in order to move towards a Cavity-Free Future for all age groups.

The WFPHA works with the Alliance and local WFPHA Member organizations along with Ministries of Health to support local and global caries prevention activities and messaging that will empower communities around the world to address this chronic disease.
Joining the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future, the WFPHA supports the principles to drive education about the caries continuum and elevate the importance of caries prevention and management as a global health issue.

Contact: WFPHA International Office

Global Tobacco Control

Global Tobacco Control

This project was designed as a volunteer-led effort that originated after WFPHA’s 8th International Congress on Public Health held in Arusha, Tanzania in 1997. At the Congress, representatives from the Tanzanian Public Health Association expressed a keen interest in the issue of tobacco control and urged WFPHA to develop an initiative to combat the global tobacco crisis. Following the Congress, a Project Paper was developed, and subsequently, in 1999, a project effort was launched under the leadership of Professor Theodor Abelin.

Also in 1999, WHO launched its own effort to draft, negotiate, and approve an international treaty on global tobacco control, WHO’s first ever treaty initiative for global public health, named the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Between 1999 and 2003 WHO held a number of negotiation sessions under an Intergovernmental Negotiating Body in which WFPHA participated.

Additionally, WFPHA associated closely with the Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control  (FCTC), a consortium of international NGOs engaged on global tobacco control. In May 2001, WFPHA organized its first international workshop on the topic of global tobacco control prior to the World Health Assembly. WFPHA also took the initiative with other leading public health organizations in promoting a petition for public health professionals to demonstrate their own support for the FCTC, thereby generating greater interest and support for the convention in countries throughout the world.

In February 2005, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control entered into force and got over 165 signatories and more than 65 parties (parties are countries that have ratified the FCTC and are obligated to implement its directives). WFPHA continues to support efforts to encourage ratification worldwide as well as implementation in countries where ratification has taken place.

The Conference of the Parties has decided to maintain the observer status of the WFPHA.

Handwashing Campaign

Handwashing Campaign

In 2001, WFPHA and the Colgate Palmolive Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding that launched the WFPHA/Colgate Palmolive joint Handwashing Program. With the support of Colgate Palmolive, this program was established to promote effective hygiene practices for healthy living in developing countries. The program will be undertaken in countries that have both a WFPHA Member Association and a Colgate Palmolive office and will provide the opportunity for WFPHA Member Associations to organize and implement an important public health campaign to benefit the local population while also gaining greater visibility in their countries.



WFPHA began its HIV/AIDS initiative with the organization and sponsorship of a workshop held in 2002 on the topic of HIV/AIDS Treatment in Low Resource Settings. At the conclusion of the workshop, WFPHA issued 9 formal recommendations regarding treatment for HIV/AIDS patients. In addition, WFPHA also stated its commitment to contributing to global efforts to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

In 2004, at WFPHA’s 10th International Congress on Public Health in Brighton, UK, a Global Action Session was held entitled “Public Health Challenges to HIV/AIDS Treatment.” Participants in the Global Action Session issued specific recommendations for WFPHA and its Members.

Human Resources for Health

Human Resources for Health

WFPHA has developed a stronger interest in and commitment to Human Resources for Health (HRH). WFPHA’s interest in this topic coalesced with the publication of the landmark report, Human Resources for Health: Overcoming the Crisis, published by the Joint Learning Initiative in late 2004. This report concluded a three-year effort by different teams of experts, academicians, and policy makers that studied the crisis in human resources for health and made recommendations for addressing the crisis. Additionally, WFPHA supported its national Members as they seek to address this issue. One key objective in many countries was to develop strategic workforce plans and national public health associations to help in making sure that such plans would be developed and implemented.

This subject have received greater attention in 2006 as the theme of the World Health Day in April and also of the WHO’s Annual Report. Furthermore, 2006 marked the beginning of a decade of Human Resources in Health to culminate in 2015.

Millennium Development Goals

Millennium Development Goals

The Public Health Associations / Schools of Public Health Alliance
for Advancing the Millennium Development Goals

The alliance between PHAs and SPHs began in 2004 at WFPHA’s 10 th International Congress held in England.  At this time, two have joined: ASPHER, the Association for Schools of Public Health in the European Region and ALAESP, the Latin American and Caribbean Association of Education in Public Health.

Given the increased interest and focus on the Millennium Development Goals, WFPHA has been compelled to identify steps to promote its new alliance under the framework of the MDGs. Furthermore, in order to give life to its new membership configuration, WFPHA held several sessions and meetings to explore ways to strengthen the alliance between PHAs and SPHs.

In 2004, WFPHA held a session on the new PHA-SPH alliance and also issued a Declaration at the World Health Assembly followed by a workshop on the alliance for the Annual Meeting of the Mexican Society for Public Health and by a Statement. Another workshop was held in 2005 in Costa Rica to carry forward plans and efforts to make the alliance a reality.

Persistent Organic Pollutants

Persistent Organic Pollutants

The Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Project at WFPHA has existed for several years. In May 2000, WFPHA published a monograph as part of the project entitled, “Persistent Organic Pollutants and Human Health.” The POPs Convention, also known as the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, was adopted by the United Nations Environment Program in 2001 and entered into force in May 2004. At this time, WFPHA remains committed to supporting efforts related to the POPs Project.

Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases

Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases

During the WHO Executive Board 128th session (2011), the WFPHA supported by the International Federation of medical Student’s Associations (IFMSA) and by the Global Alcohol Policy alliance (GAPA) stood ready to assist the tasks of preparing for the September meeting and requested that WHO and its Members ensure that the voice of public health professionals and practitioners, through their international association, is heard during the preparations and deliberations. Specifically, the World Federation urged that during the process particular consideration is paid to the three key issues of strengthening national public health systems or public health functions of national health systems, enhancing the numbers, training and competence of the workforce responsible for public health functions both within and outside the health sector in all countries and establishing flourishing national associations of public health professionals where they do not exist strengthening them further where they do (Statement).

SOPHA Program

SOPHA Program

The SOPHA Program celebrated 25 years (1985 – 2010). The Strengthening of Public Health Associations (SOPHA) Program has been the flagship of the Canadian Public Health Association’s global public health portfolio for 25 years. Over this period, CPHA has helped the establishment and nurture the organizational development of public health associations in over 30 locations around the world. For more information see SOPHA Publication (English and French Versions).

SOPHA Program LogoSOPHA Program Logo

WFPHA Fellowship Program

WFPHA Fellowship Program

There is global evidence of the widening gaps, within and between countries, in income levels, opportunities, health status, life expectancy and access to care. Each day, across the world there are hundreds of unnecessary deaths as a result of health inequities, defined as “unfair and avoidable or remediable differences in health outcomes between different population groups.” The desirable counter-side of equity is shown in the box below.

Equity is the absence of avoidable or remediable differences among populations or groups defined socially, economically, demographically or geographically. Health inequities, therefore, involve more than inequality - whether in health determinants or outcomes or in access to the resources needed to improve and maintain health

Source: PHAO & WHO

The 2012 World Congress on Public Health focused on global progress in achieving equity, as well as the opportunities and threats to such progress. The final Addis Ababa Declaration recommitted the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA) to strive for greater equity between and within countries in health outcomes, access to health care, and those social, economic and political factors that drive health inequities.

With the WFPHA Fellowships Program, the WFPHA supports public health associations (PHAs) in developing or strengthening the skills necessary to promote public health locally and worldwide, as well as in setting up global partnerships, through the exchange of capabilities and knowledge among public health professionals from different countries.

Project Aims

The main aims of the WFPHA Fellowships Program are to:

  1. Bring emerging public health association together with established and proven public health associations to promote public health growth and understanding;
  2. Facilitate and improve communication between global public health associations;
  3. Develop partnerships and practices that will positively affect and improve public health;
  4. Document success or challenges that could serve as a learning tool for all Public Health Associations.

The second WFPHA Fellowships Program has been held in Brazil starting in 2015. The Brazilian Association of Collective Health (ABRASCO) has been the hosting country for 2015. The two selected fellows, Dereje Gebreab Tilahun - African Federation of Public Health Association - and Sharmila Huda - Public Health Foundation of Bangladesh - have joined the activities of ABRASCO dealing with policy development, program management, field work etc.

 For more information, please contact the WFPHA International Office.

The next call for the fellowship program will be opened soon! Stay tuned!


Public Health Association Governance Survey

The 2013 – 2017 WFPHA Strategic Plan reaffirms the importance of improving organizational governance structures and processes, infrastructure and capacity as a key goal. In 2014, the WFPHA, in association with the Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and the School of Public Health/Witwatersrand University, conducted a survey of the Federation’s member public health associations, to assess their state of organizational governance and the factors that facilitate and impede ‘good governance’ and that affect the effectiveness of PHAs to influence policy and practice for population health and health equity gains.

The survey found the two most important factors that support governance effectiveness to be a high degree of integrity and ethical behavior of the PHA’ s leaders and the competence of people serving on the PHA’ s governing body. The lack of financial resources was considered as the most important factor that negatively affected organizational governance effectiveness. The lack of mentoring for future PHA leaders; ineffective or incompetent leadership; lack of understanding about good governance practices; and lack of accurate information for strategic planning were identified as factors influencing PHA governance effectiveness. Critical elements for PHA sustainability included diversity, gender -responsiveness and inclusive governance practices, and strategies to build the future generation of public health leaders.

The results of the survey, published in BMC Public Health (2016) 16:251, can be retrieved here.

The Millennium Development Goals survey

MDGs – A public health professional’s perspective from 71 countries

Lomazzi M, Theisling M, Tapia L, Borisch B, Laaser U (2013)
Journal of Public Health Policy, Federations’ Pages Online Supplement, 34, e1–e22; doi:10.1057/jphp.2012.69

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are nowadays discussed at several levels from governments to grassroots advocacy.

The WFPHA has executed a quali-quantitative survey to explore the opinion of public health professionals worldwide and their experience concerning the implementation and achievement of the MDGs with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. We received 427 completed questionnaires, from 71 countries.

88% of respondents were involved in MDGs-related activities collaborating mainly with the national government, multilateral organizations and local NGOs. The respondents’ main activities focused on MDG 4, 5, and 6. Their answers do not differ significantly across respondents’ employment position, WHO regions, and country’s Gross National Income. All 8 MDGs were considered as relevant by some in the public health community. However, the importance assigned to each MDG varies significantly, with MDGs 4 and 5 considered most important in the African Region, and MDGs 7 and 8 in the Western Pacific Region. Respondents from lower-income countries (LIC) attach high relevance to MDG1. All-together 51% agree fully and 40% partially with a positive statement on MDGs achievement. The quantitative results have been published at the Journal of Public Health Policy. The qualitative data of this study will be published soon.

To read the article, click here.

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