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Briefing for Ambassadors on Upcoming International WHO Events in Kazakhstan

Ambassadors and high-level officials from over 30 embassies and representations accredited to Kazakhstan joined an in-person and online briefing on 10 August 2023 to find out what is on the agenda of the 73rd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe (RC73). They also learned more about the programme of the international conference “Primary health care policy and practice: implementing for better results”, to be held just before RC73 in October in Astana, Kazakhstan.

During the briefing, Dr Azhar Giniyat, Minister of Health of Kazakhstan, noted, “The 73rd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe will contribute to strengthening health systems across the European Region, and to improving the health of our citizens. We are determined to make the event a success, and ask for your active participation in the discussions.”

The ambassadors present expressed strong interest and support for the upcoming WHO meetings, and requested further information about the establishment of an international coalition of countries committed to advancing primary health care.

Mr Kairat Umarov, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, also spoke at the briefing. “The Alma-Ata and Astana declarations of 1978 and 2018 have been seminal moments for primary health care on the global stage. We believe that the primary health care conference and the 73rd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe will also be important contributions to international health. Kazakhstan is committed to working with WHO and making the world a safer and healthier place,” he commented.

Addressing ambassadors in a video recording, Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, underlined the importance of broad participation by countries in public health discussions and agreements. “Close engagement with Member States is vital not only for transparency and accountability in moving the health agenda forwards, but also ensures we benefit from countries’ rich expertise and experience to advance health for all.”

Both events in October will gather international experts and health ministers from across the 53 countries of the WHO European Region, as well as countries of other WHO regions, to advance public health priorities.

About RC73

RC73 will bring together health ministers, experts and partners for 3 days, from 24 to 26 October 2023, in Astana. It will be an opportunity for delegates to reflect on the current state of health and well-being across the Region, take stock of progress in delivering the European Programme of Work 2020–2025, celebrate public health milestones over the 75 years since WHO was established, and discuss what is needed to address current and future challenges.

Several public health plans will be considered and put forward for endorsement during the proceedings, including an action plan for refugee and migrant health for 2023­–2030, a framework for action on the health and care workforce for 2023–2030, and a roadmap on tackling antimicrobial resistance for 2023–2030.

Delegates will also be provided with an update on health emergencies in the Region, and consulted on the development of the Preparedness 2.0 strategy and action plan as well as a regional action plan to strengthen the Emergency Medical Teams initiative.

The meeting will be hosted by the Government of Kazakhstan, under the patronage of His Excellency Mr Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan.

About the international conference on primary health care

To be held on 23 October 2023 in Astana, the conference “Primary health care policy and practice: implementing for better results” is an official side event of RC73. It will convene health leadership from across the Region and globally to take stock of progress in advancing the commitments of the 2018 Astana Declaration on primary health care, identify implementation success factors based on country experiences, and put forward policies and practices for primary health-care transformation towards universal health coverage.

Hosted by WHO/Europe together with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Government of Kazakhstan, the meeting will be an opportunity to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Alma-Ata Declaration and the 5th anniversary of the Astana Declaration, along with the 75th anniversary of WHO’s founding.

Source: World Health Organization