EMPHNET’s Executive Director Dr. Mohannad Al Nsour represented EMPHNET during the third Public Health and Emergency Workforce Roadmap Steering Committee meeting. The meeting was hosted by the Italian National Institute of Health between July 6 and 7, 2023 in Rome.
Over 75 attendees participated in this hybrid meeting, where the was used to underscore the importance of investing in the workforce needed to deliver the Essential Public Health Functions.
These functions complement primary healthcare and offer a holistic, integrated, cost-effective and sustainable means for strengthening health systems, which are to be strengthened with the public health capacities required to advance Universal Health Coverage and other health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
During the meeting, the Steering Committee members also discussed progress across several relevant action areas. They reviewed and endorsed technical tools; and initiated the development of a simplified technical package for contextualization and benchmarking at the country level.
This steering committee meeting comes as a follow up to the G-20 Health Ministers meeting held in Rome in September 2021. The purpose of that meeting was to promote strong multilateral cooperation to end the COVID-19 pandemic and support recovery, while also detecting and responding to other global health risks and emergencies. The end result of this meeting was the development of the 2021 Declaration of the G20.
Among the many issues recognized in the 2021 Declaration of the G20, is the "importance of investing in and protecting an adequate and well-trained health workforce and community-based health services.“ This issue addresses a global shortage by increasing productive capacities to meet needs in the face of health risks and emergencies as well as insufficient human resource capacity at national and local levels.
The Italian G20, is the result of the collaboration of WHO and many of the world’s leading public health organizations and schools aiming to develop a roadmap for strengthening the public health and emergency workforce. Therefore, the creation of a public health and emergency workforce will align respective contributions and strengthen capacity across all WHO Member States for a multi-disciplinary workforce to undertake the Essential Public Health Functions (EPHFs), including Emergency, Preparedness, and Response (EPR).
In the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR), strengthening public health capacities and public health system with a focus on emergency preparedness and response is a priority for emergency-affected countries, refugees-affected countries, and those which are at high risk of being impacted by humanitarian crisis or disease outbreaks. EMPHNET has been working with ministries of health and partners to enhance priority rapid response capacities and operations.