Letter from the President

Last November some hundred IANPHI members and partners gathered in Marrakech, Morocco, at IANPHI’s 9th Annual Meeting. Many interesting and timely topics were presented and discussed both during the official program, and also during the social events and gatherings. The most pressing topic of the event was naturally the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa and our member institutes’ efforts in addressing the challenge. We also discussed non-communicable diseases (NCD), and strategies and capacity requirements for national public health institutes to address the ever more complex public health challenges of today.

I want to personally thank our Moroccan hosts for the successful event, and all the participants whose collective input once again demonstrated the strength and importance of our network. In our General Assembly we also welcomed twelve new institutes to join the association.

This year, our global Annual Meeting will take place in Paris in mid-October. Since its founding in 2006, IANPHI has grown from 36 to 97 members, with a global representation of 88 countries. Over the years, we have witnessed many successful capacity-building projects that have made a real impact on our member institutes’ work. IANPHI has grown to be a recognized and esteemed international organization on which our partners rely for expertise and knowledge on public health.

I appreciate highly that IANPHI members are devoted to make their best effort to ensure the sustainability of IANPHI. Membership dues form the financial core for our network, but as the Ebola outbreak demonstrated, in kind contributions from member institutes are a valuable resource for us. Yet, I urge all members to advocate the role of our network to make our important work even more visible to potential donors. The concept of national public health institute is very instrumental for several essential public health functions, and the network of national public health institutes is an important asset for global public health.

IANPHI also addresses specific topics in its regional meetings. For example, the IANPHI European network has met regularly for several years and established itself as a local forum for current issues. This year, we will gather in Prague at the end of April. The Americas and Africa also have their own regional platforms for public health topics. Since the establishment of IANPHI, the Executive Board has been geographically balanced to have a comprehensive view on what is happening globally. I wish to thank all the past EB members who have provided IANPHI with their time and effort during their term of service and who still contribute to our work as mentors, advisors and experts. Also, I am happy to welcome the new members, elected by our General Assembly, to the IANPHI Executive Board.

Our member institutes and our network has been faced with two very different type of difficulties in recent times: the urgent Ebola crisis, and the global work for prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. The first represents a high profile work to respond to an urgent epidemic. The latter means building public health response to a long term major health burden where the potential for public health improvement is great. These challenges and many others continue. We have an interesting year ahead of us, and I invite all our members to share their news with the whole network during the year. I am looking forward to seeing you all soon.

Wishing you a prosperous year,

Pekka Puska 

IANPHI President

Former Director General,

National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland