Republic of Macedonia moves toward national Health 2020 strategy

The Republic of Macedonia is one of the countries in the WHO European Region to embark on the process of developing a national Health 2020 strategy and operational plan. This commitment was the result of a bilateral meeting between the WHO Regional Office for Europe Director on Policy and Governance for Health and Well-being, Dr Agis Tsouros, and the Minister of Health of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr Nikola Todorov.

During the bilateral meeting held on 27 May 2014, the Minister of Health pointed out that health reform is a national priority in the country. Great investment is being made in developing the health sector’s capacities. Dr Tsouros informed the Minister that the Health 2020 policy framework represents a great opportunity for the country to significantly improve the health and well-being of the population, reduce health inequalities, strengthen public health and ensure people-centred health systems that are universal, equitable and sustainable. Furthermore, this framework will support cooperation with other sectors and society, thus addressing some of the most challenging public health issues in the country, including climate change.

Implementing whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches
The bilateral meeting was followed with a workshop on the implementation of Health 2020.  The aim of this workshop was to initiate discussion on the whole-of-government and whole-of-society actions towards the improvement of health and well-being. Participants from the Ministry of Health, health sector institutions, nongovernmental organizations and international organizations attended the event. They all agreed that influences on health often lie outside the health care sector, and health challenges will only be solved through the commitment and coordinated response of all government sectors.

Many of the building blocks of a Health 2020 strategy are already being developed, including plans on the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases, public health strengthening, and environment and health. The positive results of past and current experiences of the country in developing intersectoral actions and participatory processes for health and well-being offer a great starting point for the development of a Health 2020 strategy. Special emphasis was given to the need of conducting this process in a transparent manner, making it accessible for the participation of the whole society.

WHO/Europe will support the country in the process of developing its new national Health 2020 strategy and operational plan. Dr Tsouros will visit again the country in the upcoming months to follow its progress.

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