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Saturday, November 30, 2013

The SEE Health Network is launching an impotant initiative for reducing excessive salt intake: Summary of the EC TAIEX Regional Workshop

On 25-26 November 2013 a Regional Workshop on Preventive Actions for Reducing the Excessive Salt Intake was organized by the European Commission TAIEX Instrument in Podgorica, Montenegro under the Presidency of Professor Miodrag Radunovic, Minister of Health of Montenegro.

The event was attended by experts from several European Union countries - Croatia, Latvia,  Romania and Slovenia. Over 50 participants from the countries members of the SEE Health Network attended and participated in an intensive experience exchange, learning and defining the future concerted actions of a new SEE Health Network to prevent and control noncommunicable diseases.

The Workshop reviewed in depth the WHO Recommendations and the EU Documents which stress the importance of the negative serious effects on health of excessive salt intake and the rationale used in setting limits for the daily intake of salt (sodium chloride.

The presentations by experts from the EU Member States and participants from the countries of the SEEHN showed the large variety of approaches used to tackle the problem, both from the political (administrative) and practical points of view. However in essentially all cases the Ministries of Health and Agriculture are the main actors with the food industry and very often consumer organizations.
Concern was expressed at the meeting of the relatively low level of impact of public health views, both at the EU level and in the countries of the SEEHN into the labeling approaches (food claims) as compared with other actors, taking into account the concept of Health in All Policies.

Based on the above the issue of a common approach to labeling of salt (focus on NaCl) in foods is urgent for the countries of the SEEHN  in view of the obligation of the EU Member States to implement at national level labeling in conformity the respective EU Directive. A good understanding of approaches used in the EU and eventual difficulties encountered would be of considerable help to the countries of the SEEHN. The SEEHN is requested to undertake appropriate steps, including at the political level, to speed up this understanding and thus help the harmonization of of a specific TAIEX labeling in the SEEHN countries with the measures taken by the EU Member States, including possibly through the organization of a specific TAIEX workshop.
Salt (NaCl) intake. Full agreement as to the requirement to have more data, possibly harmonized, on their daily intake of NaCl by the population of the Region (including at national and sub-national levels to help develop relevant measures to tackle the problem of excessive NaCl intake, at their appropriate level.

Close cooperation with media to promote discussion  and knowledge of this issue to the population at large, and at the community level, and working at the same time at promoting this knowledge in schools – this is of foremost importance (cooperation between public health and the educators.

Sampling methodology at Regional level for comparison purposes would be beneficial, using, if possible, the approach used at the EU level.
Human resources in each country to collect and assess data are scares. Cooperation in the Region is essential as is the cooperation with the EU countries.

On the basis of the above the following DRAFT DECISION is proposed a draft Decision to be submitted to the 32nd Plenary Meeting of the SEE Health Network, Pogorica, 27-28 November for endorsement. 
























Friday, November 22, 2013

Forthcoming event: 32nd Plenary meeting of the South-eastern Europe Health Network, 27-28 November 2013, Presidency of Montenegro

We are just less than a week before the 32nd Plenary of the South-eastern Europe Health Network (SEEHN) starts its wok in Podgorica, Montenegro under the Presidency of the Minister of Health, Professor Miodrag Radunovic.

This event will be attended by the national health coordinators of the Member States to the SEEHN, the partner countries and partner international organizations, directors of the SEEHN Regional Health Development Centers (RHDC) and the Ambassadors of the SEEHN Member States accredited to Montenegro.

 
 
The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss the SEEHN major developments, activities and challenges during the term of the Montenegro Presidency (SEEHN Presidency report June - December, 2013). During the Plenary the SEEHN partnerships in public health will be further expanded by signing Memoranda of Cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Association of Neurosurgeons in the SEE and the SEE Occupational Health  Medicine Association.

In follow up to the commitments of the SEE Ministers of Health as stipulated in their Banja Luka Pledge, endorsed during their Third Ministerial Forum in 2011, as well as based on the current developments in the SEE Regional Cooperation Process related to the SEE 2020 Growth Strategy, the 32nd Plenary will deal with two important strategic issues:
 
·       Discussing and approving the health chapter, objectives, measures and health indicators that will be an undisputable and inseparable part of the Inclusive Growth pillar of the SEE 2020 Growth Strategy. This is on one side a unique development in public health in the SEE region to implement and contribute as a network of 10 countries to the WHO Europe Health 2020 Policy and European Action Plan on Strengthening Public Health Capacities and Services. On the other side, the recognition of health as a contributor to growth, economic development and employment under the Regional Cooperation Process will bring new opportunities to the SEEHN Member States to improve further the health of their populations and to deal with the social determinants of health and inequities in the region, between and within the 10 countries;

·        Providing an overview on the regional efforts and cooperation in accelerating national action to reduce the burden of NCDs as a way of enhancing human, social and economic development across the whole of government and whole of society as well as in post-2015 development goals;

Additionally, the Plenary will discuss and take important decisions on the following both technical and business issues of major priority:

·        Outcome of the EC/TAIEX Workshop on Reduction of Excessive Salt Intake in the SEE, 25-26 November 2013, Podgorica, and will approve a Decision for concerted actions of the SEEHN Member States to that effect;
·         SEEHN Strategy and Action Plan for the cooperation with the EC/TAIEX in 2014;
·         Decision on the Procedures of  the Regional Health Development Centers (RHDCs) of the  SEEHN;
·         Activities, achievements, challenges and future actions of the RHDC ;
·         SEEHN Secretariat Programme, Administrative and Financial Issues and ongoing activities:
  1. Country contributions for the years 2013 and 2014;
  2. Post descriptions for the permanent staff of the Secretariat;
  3. SEEHN Secretariat financial report;
  4. SEEHN Secretariat financial plan, and
  5. Road Map for the SEEHN activities and the SEEHN Calendar of Events in 2014 under the Romanian Presidency of the SEEHN (01 January – 30 June 2014).

Finally, during the 32nd Plenary Meeting of the SEE Health Network the Council of Europe, a founding partner to the SEEHN since the onset in 2001, will launch the report of a study on health as a human right and the important issue of health literacy of the citizens of the region.
 
 
WELCOME TO MONTENEGRO
The Presidency and the Executive Committee of the SEE Health Network
 






 
 
 

TAIEX Regional Worksop for the SEE Health Network on Preventive Actions against Excessive Salt Intake, Podorica, 25--26 November 2013

The TAIEX Workshop is organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Health of Montenegro and the SEE Regional Health Development Centre on Noncommunicable Diseases Prevention and Control.

The aim of the assistance is to provide the Members of the SEEHN with  information on European Union Member States practices concerning preventive actions on excessive salt intake leading to chronic non-communicable diseases.

Preventable noncommunicable diseases are the main cause of mortality, morbidity and disability, hence ill health, in the SEE region. High salt intake is one of the main risk factors leading to hypertension and brain strokes. There is already a wealth of evidence and good practices showing that by reducing the salt intake through a number of cost-effective actions and services leads to fast and positive impact on the health of the people. Reduction of salt intake is one of the "best-buys" in fighting the NCD epidemics.

In the SEEHN countries salt intake, though varying within the countries and the different population groups, is high, between 8-10 and even up to 13-15 grams per day.

By learning from the best experiences in some of the EU countries during the TAIEX workshop, it is expected that the SEE countries will discuss and agree around several actions and interventions to be taken at both regional and national levels. The agreed actions will be defined and stated in a draft Decision to be tabled to the National Health Coordinators at their 23nd Plenary Meeting on 27-28 November and endorsed through the signature of the SEEHN President.

The actions will follow the EU Framework, built on five key elements:

  Data collection

  Establishment of minimum benchmarks within major food categories

  Public awareness

  Industry engagement and labeling

  Monitoring, evaluation and reformulation

Just endorsed: South East Europe 2020 Strategy "Jobs and Prosperity in a European Perspective"

Yesterday, 21st November 2013 Ministers from South East Europe, in their capacity as members of the SEE Investment Committee, endorsed the new SEE 2020 Strategy "Jobs and Prosperity in a European Perspective". This happened in Sarajevo under the Presidency of Bosnia and Hercegovina and under the auspices of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC).

This is a historic moment for the SEE region, indeed.

The region, that was torn apart by wars, economic collapse and poverty in the beginning of the 90s, managed to stand up on its feet, to reconciliate and develop good neighbourly relations, to establish and strengthen regional collaboration through over 60 initiatives in various sectors of society and to take forward on the way towards economic development, peace and European integration process.

Today, the region has its first multigovernmental and multisectoral Strategy with clear targets, objective, measures, actions, governance and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

Read more about this extraordinary achievement on:  http://www.rcc.int/press/0/230/south-east-europe-2020-strategy-for-creating-1-million-jobs-in-the-region-adopted-in-sarajevo-today


The South-eastern Europe Health Network (SEEHN), one of the most active initiatives of the SEE Regional CooĆ„eration process and the RCC, already fully institutionalized,  is more than happy than ever.

It is for the first time that health is an integral part of the SEE 2020 Strategy included in its Inclusive Growth Pillar.

This is a culmination of the regional collaboration for public health started in 2001 in Dubrovnik that has a history of already 13 years of successful implementation of regional, national and sub-national policies and concerted action in many public health areas.

The Health chapter of the SEE 2020 Strategy is a result of a substantial work and effort of the 10 SEEHN Member States and their partners, the RCC and WHO Regional Office of Europe being the the most supportive amongst all.

The Health Chapter of the SEE 2020 Strategy is inspired and based on the European Union Public Health Policy, WHO Europe Health 2020 Policy Framework, on the European Action Plan for Strengthening Public Health Capacities and Services and on the WHO Europe Strategy and Action Plan on Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases.

The Health Chapter has been informed by a wealth of evidence produced by WHO Europe and its partners in the last three years in relation to social determinants of health and inequities in Europe, governance for health and well-being, the economic case for prevention and health promotion and many more. It has also been informed by the SEEHN´ own studies on Public health services evaluation, Noncommunicable diseases´ prevention and on Applying health-in-all-policies approach and mechanisms in the region.

The Health Chaper of the SEE 2020 Strategy is a logical implementation of the commitments of the Banja Luka Pledge, endorsed by the SEE Ministers of Health during their Third Ministerial Forum, October 2011, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The SEE Health Network Presidency and Executive Committee express their gratitude and high appreciation for this unique achievment to all 11 SEE Ministers of Health, to the 11 National Health Coordinators, to the Directors of the nine SEE Regional Health Development Centres and to the over 250 regional experts in the various areas of health systems and public health that have contributed to the development of the health dimensions of the Inclusive pillar of the SEE 2020 Strategy.

Now it is already proven and obvious that health is a contributing factor to development and growth!

The health systems, that are on their own one of the biggest emplyers with close to 10% of the working population being health professionals, has found its deserved place in the Strategy!

It is time to start the implentation!

We are all looking forward to the 32nd Plenary Meeting of the SEE Health Network that will take place on 27-28 November in Podgorica, Montenegro under the Presidency of the Minister of Health of the country, Professor Miodrag Radunovic.

The Plenary will discuss and agree on the immediate and next step of implementation in 2014 under the Presidencies of Romania and the Republic of Serbia.

Friday, November 15, 2013

WHO/Europe | Publications - European report on preventing child maltreatment

WHO/Europe | Publications - European report on preventing child maltreatment

WHO/Europe | Media centre - WHO report draws attention to the abuse of 18 million children

WHO/Europe | Media centre - WHO report draws attention to the abuse of 18 million children

WHO/Europe | Media centre - Healthy children learn best

WHO/Europe | Media centre - Healthy children learn best

WHO/Europe | Child and adolescent health - 4th European Conference on Health Promoting Schools

WHO/Europe | Child and adolescent health - 4th European Conference on Health Promoting Schools

WHO/Europe | Vienna Declaration on Nutrition and Noncommunicable Diseases in the Context of Health 2020

WHO/Europe | Vienna Declaration on Nutrition and Noncommunicable Diseases in the Context of Health 2020

WHO/Europe | Nutrition Friendly Schools Initiative (NFSI)

WHO/Europe | Nutrition Friendly Schools Initiative (NFSI)

WHO/Europe | Nutrition - Capacity building workshop on school-based prevention of childhood obesity in Albania

WHO/Europe | Nutrition - Capacity building workshop on school-based prevention of childhood obesity in Albania

WHO/Europe | Public health services - European Action Plan for Strengthening Public Health Capacities and Services

WHO/Europe | Public health services - European Action Plan for Strengthening Public Health Capacities and Services

WHO/Europe | Public health services - Public Health consensus meeting in Slovenia

WHO/Europe | Public health services - Public Health consensus meeting in Slovenia

WHO/Europe | Public health services - 90th anniversary of institutional public health in Bosnia and Herzegovina

WHO/Europe | Public health services - 90th anniversary of institutional public health in Bosnia and Herzegovina

WHO/Europe | WHO European Action Plan for Food and Nutrition Policy 2007-2012

WHO/Europe | WHO European Action Plan for Food and Nutrition Policy 2007-2012

WHO/Europe | Nutrition - Marketing of foods high in fat, salt and sugar to children: update 2012–2013

WHO/Europe | Nutrition - Marketing of foods high in fat, salt and sugar to children: update 2012–2013

WHO/Europe | Nutrition - Data and statistics

WHO/Europe | Nutrition - Data and statistics

WHO/Europe | Ashgabat conference on noncommunicable diseases - About the conference

WHO/Europe | Ashgabat conference on noncommunicable diseases - About the conference

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

WHO/Europe | Mental health - Data and statistics

The South-eastern Europe Health Network has started long ago (in 2002) working on mental health through a joint multi-country project on "Improving social cohesion by strengthening community-based mental health services!

The project was supported by several strong bilateral partners, namely Greece, Belgium, Italy, Sweden Slovenia and Switzerland, and two international organizations, the Council of Europe and WHO Regional Office for Europe.

Since then, the 10 countries have achieved a lot, including developing new mental health policies and laws, introducing and expanding the networks of community-based mental health services at primary Health Cale level and linked to the social services for the mentally ill citizens and huge capacity building for primary health practitioners.

Based on their own experiences and results, the SEE countries continued to work on this important health problem in the region by extended their actions beyond the project, by trasforming it into a regional programme for collaboration and development and by designating a SEE Regional Health Development Center for Mental Health at the MInistry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the subject leading country in the SEE Health Network since the very beginning in 2001.

Despite all the efforts of the SEE 10 countries mental health continues to be a problem in Europe, and particularly depression.

See the facts at WHO Europe website:

WHO/Europe | Mental health - Data and statistics

WHO/Europe | Mental health - Data and statistics

WHO/Europe | Mental health - Data and statistics

WHO/Europe | Events - International anniversary conference marking 35 years of the Declaration of Alma-Ata on primary health care

WHO/Europe | Events - International anniversary conference marking 35 years of the Declaration of Alma-Ata on primary health care