ISPRM – Report of Participation in the 69th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe

Report submitted by Dr. Vanessa Seijas, ISPRM Representative to the WHO (Secretary Liaison committee ISPRM-WHO)

Date: 16–19 September 2019

Place: Copenhagen, Denmark

Vanessa Seijas_WHO Meeting_Sept 2019
Dr. Vanessa Seijas

Dr. Vanessa Seijas, secretary of the ISPRM-WHO Liaison committee represented ISPRM at the 69th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, between 16-19 September 2019 in Copenhagen, Denmark. During this event ISPRM presented three statements in video, written and oral format (LINKs below) in the following agenda items:

  1. Accelerating primary health care in the WHO European Region
  2. Action Plan for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Roadmap to implement the 2030
  3. Agenda for Sustainable Development. (Read more)

Sunday 15:

Activity 1: NGOs briefing

In this meeting the partners team explained the rules and procedures that the NSAs had to follow to participate in the regional committee session.

In addition, the different representatives of the different participating organizations were presented. As we were informed, 43 organizations attended with approximately 90 delegates.

ISPRM at WHO meeting

Monday 16:

During the morning there was the opening of the session with the respective protocol acts. Then we heard the speeches of Mary Elizabeth Her Royal Highness Crown Princess, Crown Princess of Denmark, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General and Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, Regional Director. All very inspiring, the central message was “health is a political choice”

ISPRM at WHO meeting

During lunch Dr. Seijas attended the Technical briefing on digitalization of health systems.

ISPRM at WHO meeting

In the afternoon there was a Keynote speech by Professor Ola Rosling, President and co-founder of the Gapminder Foundation: “For a fact-based worldview.” Very interesting and revealing. This foundation is approaching the problem of the immense amount of information that is currently produced by humanity, but which we not know how to use. After this the agenda item called “Lessons learned from Health 2020 implementation” was discussed.

Tuesday 17:

During the morning a Private meeting for elections and nominations was held, which the NSAs could not attend. Dr. Hans Kluge from Belgium was nominated as the new WHO Regional Director for Europe. During the afternoon, the Implementation of the Program budget 2018–2019 was discussed.

Wednesday 18:

During the morning a Keynote speech was given by Ms. Anne Bucher, Director-General, European Commission, Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, followed by The WHO transformation and its implications for the WHO European Region, and Putting countries at the centre in the WHO European Region.

During lunch, Vanessa Seijas had the opportunity to share with the delegates of WFOT (World Federation of Occupational Therapists) and COTEC (Council of Occupational Therapist for the European Countries) and talk about issues in common, such as how to improve access to rehabilitation in primary care.

During the afternoon we talked about Accelerating primary health care in the WHO European Region: organizational and technological innovation in the context of the Declaration of Astana and we were fortunate to be able to read our first statement.

Dr. Vanessa Seijas and Ms. Anne Bucher
Dr. Vanessa Seijas and Ms. Anne Bucher

Thursday 19:

During the morning the matters arising from resolutions and decisions of the World Health Assembly and the Executive Board were discussed. Among them, – Draft global strategy to accelerate cervical cancer elimination, – Development of a global strategy for tuberculosis research and innovation, – Summary of the draft global strategy on digital health, – Development of a proposal for a decade of healthy ageing 2020–2030. After that the Health literacy in the WHO European Region was discussed and before the lunch the new NSAs for the European region were accredited.

Activation and relaxation exercises were carried out throughout the meeting before coffee breaks. In addition, a campaign was carried out promoting exercise and healthy eating.

ISPRM at WHO Meeting _ September 2019

In the afternoon the final issues were addressed:

  • Implementation of the Action Plan for the Health Sector Response to HIV in the WHO European Region
  • Implementation of the Action Plan for the Health Sector Response to Viral Hepatitis in the WHO European Region
  • Action Plan for Sexual and Reproductive Health: towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Europe – leaving no one behind
  • Roadmap to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, building on Health 2020, the European policy for health and well-being: lessons learned from Health 2020

We were fortunate to be able to read our other two statements. (See below videos)

Preparation for attendance:

Before attending the congress, 3 statements were prepared by Vanessa Seijas and Carlotte Kiekens, which were then reviewed and approved by the PC. These statements were shared 2 weeks before with all the NSAs that were going to attend the session, so we managed to present all our statements with the support of between 5 and 8 NSAs.

We also review and support other statements with the help of Vanessa Seijas, Carlotte Kiekens and Walter Frontera.

We finally prepared 3 videos, with the statements read by Vanessa Seijas, available to delegates from the member states one week before the event and also throughout the meeting.

  1. READ >> ISPRM Statement 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 


2. READ >> ISPRM Statement Accelerating primary health care in the WHO European Region 


3. READ >>ISPRM Statement Action Plan for Sexual and Reproductive Health