The World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA) has officially presented and launched the debate around the "A Global Charter for the Public's Health" at the Commonwealth Meeting on May 22nd and during the side event  “Global and local: Public Health and Primary Care in action!” held on the first day of the World Health Assembly.

A new phase of implementation involving different actors and stakeholders has now started!

See the Commonwealth Implementation Tool for the "Global Charter for the Public's Health" 

Stay tuned!

Health Federations

Cite Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons

in Joint Appeal for Prohibition and Elimination

May 2, 2016— The leading international federations representing the world’s physicians, public health professionals, and nurses have told a special UN working group that the medical and scientific evidence about the consequences of nuclear weapons requires urgent action to prohibit and eliminate them as “the only course of action commensurate with the existential danger they pose.”

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), the World Medical Association (WMA), the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA), and the International Council of Nurses (ICN) have submitted a joint working paper—“The health and humanitarian case for banning and eliminating nuclear weapons”—to the UN Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG), which holds its main meeting in Geneva this week to decide what new legal measures are needed to achieve nuclear disarmament. The OEWG will report back to the UN General Assembly later this year.

The working paper summarizes the evidence presented at three international conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, emphasizing that:

  • a nuclear war with weapons in existing arsenals could kill many more people in a few hours than were killed during the entire Second World War;
  • radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons lingers in the environment, causing cancers and other illnesses over generations;
  • Fewer than one percent of the nuclear weapons in the world today could disrupt the global climate and cause a nuclear famine;
  • The thousands of weapons in the world’s largest arsenals could trigger a global ecological collapse in a nuclear winter;
  • a meaningful medical and humanitarian response to aid the survivors of nuclear conflict is impossible.

The four federations told OEWG participants that they have “a unique opportunity and a shared responsibility to take leadership on nuclear disarmament by reframing the goal as a humanitarian-based process for banning and eliminating nuclear weapons.” They urged the OEWG to “assert the need for a new treaty that…explicitly prohibit[s]…nuclear weapons, based on their unacceptable consequences.”

IPPNW, a non-partisan federation of national medical groups in 64 countries, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for its efforts to educate US and Soviet leaders about the consequences of nuclear war. Co-president Tilman Ruff said this is the first time the leading international federations of health professionals have addressed the dangers of nuclear weapons with a common voice. “We have all expressed concern over nuclear weapons for many years,” Ruff said. “The fact that we are now coming together to demand action on disarmament is unprecedented and raises a loud alarm about the unacceptable danger a handful of states are imposing on the entire world. We have a professional obligation to prevent what we cannot cure or treat.”

The WMA, comprising 112 national medical associations, has repeatedly condemned nuclear weapons, and has called for their prohibition and elimination. “Even a limited nuclear war” said WMA president, Professor Sir Michael Marmot, “would bring about immense human suffering and death together with catastrophic effects on the Earth’s ecosystem, which could subsequently decrease the world’s food supply for over a decade and put billions of people at peril of starvation.”

Michael Moore, president-elect of the WFPHA, an international, nongovernmental organization comprising more than 100 multidisciplinary national public health associations, added that the public health hazards posed by decades of testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere and underground were only one aspect of a much graver threat. “It is time for real leadership and action from our presidents, prime ministers, and politicians around the world,” Moore said. “It is past time to rid the world of this threat to the health and well-being of ordinary citizens everywhere.”

Frances Hughes, Chief Executive Officer of the ICN, which links more than 130 national nurses associations representing more than 16 million nurses worldwide, said “the ICN abhors the accidental or deliberate use of nuclear, chemical, biological and conventional weapons and land mines, all of which undermine health and threaten survival. Inherent to nursing is the respect for the life and dignity of people; thus, nurses have a responsibility to work towards eliminating any threats to life and health.”

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The working paper is available at www.ippnw.org, or

The 15th World Congress on Public Health (WCPH2017) Scientific Committee invites authors to submit abstracts for presentation at the 2017 Congress. Submissions are sought for a number of different presentation types and can be made via the Presenters’ Portal on the Congress website.

Read through the instructions on the website and submit your abstract. Submissions are open now and will close 26 August 2016.

The WCPH2017 will be held from 3-7 April 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.

The International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA) has proudly launched a training manual, titled Climate and Health: Enabling Students and Young Professionals to Understand and Act Upon Climate Change Using a Health Narrative, developed in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the United Nations Alliance on Climate Change Education, Training and Public Awareness. Over 15 authors from the five continents have come together to create this brand new innovative tool.

Climate change is posing an unprecedented threat to our health. Its effects will continue to be numerous and disastrous unless we seize the opportunity today, and engage in a meaningful dialogue for a sustainable future. IFMSA believes that dialogue starts with education. Therefore, the Federation has created this manual in response to a lack of resources available and easily accessible for young professionals and students who were interested in leading educational activities in the field of climate change and health.

We believe health professionals, medical students, and the youth must come together to address the challenge posed by climate change on our health, and must be given opportunities and resources to train themselves in understanding and acting upon climate change. – Skander Essafi, IFMSA Liaison Officer for Public Health Issues

The training manual aims to provide training and education opportunities for students on the health consequences of climate change, the co-benefits of mitigation, and the role of health sector in adaptation and mitigation efforts. It discusses climate change with a unique perspective on the health implications, impacts and opportunities; and showcases good practices and policies that protect and promote our health. Finally, it provides resources to create, organize and lead activities in communities around the world through non formal education; and highlights the necessity of having a politically engaged youth.

The manual gathers academic knowledge, field experience and a youth dynamism in one single resource, for whomever is interested in learning about and leading capacity building activities on climate change and health – climate activists, political sciences students, health professionals. The authors have selected the most relevant topics and subtopics to explore, and have made sure to include concrete tips on organisational management, workshops planning and advocacy.

There is nothing more important than to remind ourselves why we are taking this road together. Using health arguments in the climate change debate allow ourselves to shift to a positive and hopeful message, that together we can do different, we can do better, we can do more. – Claudel P-Desrosiers, Medical Student and Project Leader of the Training Manual

This manual shall serve as a first step into the interlinkages between advocacy, climate change, health and capacity building. IFMSA believes that it provides insightful content, innovative training methods and useful tools, and will inspire young people and professionals to ignite discussions, trainings, activities in their home communities.

I encourage you to use this manual created by the IFMSA and go for this training as an eye opener to the way we see public health. We count on you to have a positive role in moving society forward.– Dr Maria Neira, Director of the Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, World Health Organization.

The manual is available here.