Letter from the Secretary General
As you may know, at the start of 2014, the IANPHI Secretariat moved from THL in Helsinki, Finland, where it was housed since is creation in 2006, to a shared office between the InVS in France and the INSP in Mexico. The transition, as any, has posed its unique challenges, but as we move into the last months of the year, the accomplishments far outweigh the initial challenge.
By the end of 2014, we anticipate that IANPHI will grow from a global health network of 86 NPHI members to 95, representing 102 counties, including the 15 countries represented by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) within the CARICOM Region.
We have taken on the task of proposing amendments to the IANPHI Constitutional Bylaws in order to consolidate and formalize our Association within an international framework. The final results of which will be voted on at the General Assembly at the 2014 Annual Meeting. Together with the Atlanta office and the President of IANPHI, Pekka Puska, throughout the year, we have lobbied for advocacy and financial support from international agencies such as the World Bank, International Development Bank, PAHO, WHO, Bloomberg Foundation, and Gates Foundation, among others.
The IANPHI-INSP office not only met but exceeded the laborious goal of uniting $200,000.00 USD from the valuable contributions of our esteemed members for the organization of the 2015 Annual Meeting, as well as to contribute toward the operations of the Secretariat.
The Agenda for the 2014 Annual Meeting, which will be held in Marrakech, Morocco from November 2-4, was developed for the first time in IANPHI history by an Ad Hoc Committee that diligently volunteered their time and expertise to provide our members with a robust and relevant program that focuses on many pressing global issues that are central to both local and regional health.
The theme of this year’s Annual Meeting is Health Reforms and National Public Heath Institutes: A global perspective. With this topic we expect to capture both the experience of success and the lessons learned so as to strengthen our understanding of the unique challenges that each of our countries’ are facing today.
But of these challenges and accomplishments, there is one that outweighs all the rest: the Ebola crisis. To date, more than 2,250 people have died in the outbreak from more than 4,300 infections in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. The WHO has predicted an "exponential increase" in infections across West Africa.
IANPHI has been monitoring the information related to the outbreak of the Ebola virus, and has maintained direct contact with the office of the WHO Director, Dr. Margaret Chan, to offer and coordinate any support that the WHO has requested of our International Association, and we have received specific requests for offering our support to the afflicted and neighboring countries to aid in containing the outspread.
The WHO has identified an important role in which IANPHI could assist the neighboring countries to better shape their contingency and emergency plans. In this regard, we have been asked to carry out due diligent Public Health, seeking among IANPHI members:
- Financial support from international cooperation agencies, such as the case with AMEXID in the Mexico Foreign Relations Ministry
- Land support and training volunteer public health medical teams and expert epidemiologists with experience in Ebola
- Knowledge of the detailed plans for contention and emergency in the countries bordering the affected region.
This timely intervention in the external, but very proximate area to the epicenter of the epidemic is crucial for preparedness, as it appears that the neighboring countries will eventually be affected by the Ebola crisis in a direct manner.
The Secretariat offices in Mexico, Atlanta, and Saint-Maurice have doubled efforts to provide our IANPHI members with current information on the evolution of the Ebola outbreak with direct messages, links to relevant articles, and information sites on internet, as well as posting updated information on the IANPHI website, Facebook and twitter.
We look forward to a new year with hopefully less menacing challenges and greater opportunities to add value to the IANPHI membership.
Secretary General- IANPHI