Letter from the President

October 2014

This year, IANPHI’s Annual Meeting will take place in Marrakech, Morocco, from November 2-4. Since our last global meeting, several national public health institutes have shown great interest in joining our network. We expect that the General Assembly will welcome many new members to IANPHI. Aside from new members, new partnerships are also being formed and developed.  Collaboration with major regional public health actors and other international organizations helps IANPHI to fulfill its mission to improve public health globally.

A pressing topic is naturally the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Western Africa. Our member institutes in the area are working hard to prevent the virus from spreading, and we have called our entire network to assistance. The outbreak is not only a health issue, but it has its effects on the economy on the continent. Whereas many volunteer emergency response groups can be of great help in the fieldwork of tackling the disease, it remains the work of the national public health institutes to collect data, develop response strategies, and conduct research to capacitate the countries for the best possible outcome from the dire circumstance. As a network, IANPHI’s members can learn from each other’s experience, and we have also offered our network to assist our long standing partner, WHO.

Although we will address the Ebola outbreak thoroughly during our Annual Meeting this year, we will also discuss other public health topics that are less dramatic, but pose a heavy threat to the public health burden globally. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) continue growing in numbers, and affect not only public health but also social and economic development. In countries where the public health professionals have so far focused mostly on infectious disease, the need to broaden their scope of expertise to NCDs has now risen. This requires more capacity, strategic planning, and policy development. IANPHI and many of its member institutes work to help implement WHO’s new global NCD Action Plan.

IANPHI’s mission is to equip all our member institutes by sharing the expertise of the whole network. Peer-to-peer assistance can be carried out through events, training, and project work. Executing such tasks in a global arena also requires structural sustainability within the organization. The IANPHI Secretariat works continuously in the background to facilitate this work, communicate our aspirations and achievements, and also find new sources for funding both individual projects and the network itself.  We welcome donors and partners to help us to fulfill our mission of improving public health all around the world.

See many of you in Marrakech!

Pekka Puska 

IANPHI President

Former Director General, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland