A host agreement to establish a new WHO Office for Humanitarian and Health Emergencies Preparedness in Istanbul, Turkey, was co-signed by Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe and Professor Recep Akdağ, Minister of Health of Turkey, on 2 May 2017 in Ankara.
During her visit to the country, Dr Jakab also presented the “Action plan for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases in the WHO European Region” to the Turkey-WHO Strategic Partnership Forum, visited a refugee health centre and met with high-level officials from the Ministry of Health to discuss health priorities for Turkey.
WHO Office for Humanitarian and Health Emergencies Preparedness
As part of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, the office will significantly contribute to WHO’s capacity to assist countries in preventing, preparing for and managing risk of all-hazard humanitarian and health emergencies at regional and global levels. In particular, work on strengthening international health regulations (IHR) core capacities, implementing emergency medical team standards, organizing multi-country simulation exercises and working together with noncommunicable diseases experts will be prioritized.
Speaking at the signing, Dr Jakab explained that the new office builds on the Regional Office’s solid expertise and experience in the full cycle of crisis management, from prevention and preparedness to response and recovery. It represents a major asset for WHO’s work in health emergencies, through the Health Emergencies Programme established last year.
Establishing this office in Istanbul will draw on Turkey’s expertise in responding to and managing humanitarian and health emergencies, such as providing access to health services for Syrians in Turkey and in northern Syria.
Professor Akdağ recognized the excellent working relationship with WHO and called on more countries to support the work of the Organization in this area. The minister referred to the signature of the agreement as “his dream coming true” as the office will represent an important health gain for Turkey as well as strengthen its contribution to global health.
Action plan for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases in the WHO European Region In her address to the 250 participants of the Turkey-WHO Strategic Partnership Forum “Leaving no one behind”, Dr Jakab presented the new action plan on noncommunicable diseases. She outlined areas of potential collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Turkey, including a commitment to better prevention, management and care; taking a life-course approach; providing support to policy-makers; and monitoring and evaluating policies