Highlights of the IANPHI Executive Board Meeting

The IANPHI Executive Board (EB) held a virtual meeting on February 22, 2022.

IANPHI president, Prof. Duncan Selbie, welcomed EB members, representatives of the IANPHI Foundation, the IANPHI Secretariat staff, and the guests of IANPHI member national public health institutes (NPHIs). 

1. IANPHI Action Plan Implementation

Since last meeting, there has been some progress on launching the Thematic Committees, in particular the Committee on Climate Change and Public Health, which now has a Chair and Vice-Chair, and the Committee on Social and Health Inequalities, which will be led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An investment case to secure long-term, multi-year funding is in process of development by S. Lynes. It will outline the possible funding opportunities; integrate the activities following the action plan, the inputs, responsibilities, resources and the required steps.

2. IANPHI Membership

The Board has unanimously approved the membership request from the Institute of Public Health of Montenegro (IPHMNE) to be presented to the General Assembly in December 2022. The institute was founded in 1922 and currently employs 243 members. It is a highly specialized health institution whose activities are aimed at preserving and improving the health of all citizens with activities such as evaluation, promotion of health, the development of programs for prevention, detection, and control of infectious diseases, laboratory analysis, and statistical research.

3. Appointment of IANPHI Strategic Advisor

Following the proposition of the IANPHI Secretariat, the immediate past Secretary General, Jean-Claude Desenclos, was appointed as IANPHI strategic advisor. His main mission will be to provide expertise to both the Secretariat and the Board in the implementation of the IANPHI Strategy 2021-2025 and IANPHI Action Plan 2022-2023. J.C. Desenclos will also guide the Secretariat in developing external partnerships, exploring new areas of collaboration and work, and providing essential input on reports and publications.

4. Finalization of the IANPHI Report on the Lessons learned from NPHI Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak in 2020

The Board approved the finalization of the report and its subsequent publication on the IANPHI website. The report focuses on issues such as the essential roles and positions of NPHIs, namely diversity, adaptation, roles, and responsibilities. The draft features four case studies: two from Public Health Wales on the margin for mandate and on understanding and responding to socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, one from INS Colombia on strategic partnerships for building laboratory capacities, and one Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on strategies to access, supply, and management of medical goods and human resources.

Following the received feedback from the EB members and participants, the impacts on the public health workforce and building will be reflected in the report conclusion. It has been proposed to include one or two additional case studies (for a total of 5 or 6). The final consideration and study of the INS Mexico on the issue of opportunities for NPHIs to strengthen their position of trusted scientific advisors to improve communication will be done.

In coordination with the Secretariat, the final feedback and dissemination of the final draft to the Board via email will be launched, before publishing on the IANPHI website. Furthermore, the Secretariat will coordinate with the WHO Executive Board to present the findings.

5. IANPHI Contribution to Belgium's Responses against Disinformation and Radicalization

The IANPHI Communications team will contribute to the Belgian Responses against Disinformation and Radicalization through FACT-checking (Belradar) project. It will entail the voluntary participation of the members in the study and IANPHI in quarterly discussions organized by Belradar to refine the process and strategy.

6. Work on IANPHI Thematic Committees

The SoPs and ToRs for the IANPHI Committees have been finalized with the support and guidance of the colleagues at RKI, in particular A. Fehr. Following approval from the Board, these documents will be used to operationalize the remaining four IANPHI Committees.

In line with the IANPHI Strategic Action Plan and formalization of the Thematic Committees, the former Working Group on Climate Change & Public Health is renamed into “Thematic Committee on Climate Change and Public Health”.

7. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Project Approval

IANPHI has been approved as a charitable foundation by the B&MGF, which will allow the Association to receive grant funding. IANPHI has signed the agreement to receive funding for the planning grant to carry out IANPHI’s project proposal, which will be disbursed in the coming months. The proposal features two objectives:

  • Objective 1 - providing support to Grand Challenge target countries in the completion of their IDS proposals,
  • Objective 2 - IANPHI and the WHO Berlin Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence cooperation in the development of the next stage strategic planning by harnessing IANPHI members and partners for NPHI consultations.

The consultation with B&MGF is planned to discuss reporting requirement, to reach a mutual agreement on the scope and direction of Objective 2. After the finalization process, IANPHI will receive the grant funding to carry out all activities.

8. IANPHI Communication Strategy

The 2022 Communications Plan was presented to the Board. It is based on two pillars: advocating for NPHIs as key public health actors and Build the IANPHI network and demonstrating effectiveness through communications. These two pillars feature growing our audience with paid social media campaigns, making the case for NPHIs through an Advocacy Story Accelerator initiative, increasing IANPHI's brand recognition; and developing 2021 Recognition of Success' winning submissions into published stories. It was decided that the Communication plan would be further discussed by the Secretariat and U.S. Office by email and eventually in person during the U.S. visit of D. Selbie and A.C. Viso.

9. IANPHI Public Health Events Calendar and Online Events 

The IANPHI Secretariat prepared the 2022 calendar of the main public health events. The Board members have been invited to choose one or several events to attend on behalf of IANPHI and communicate their choice to the Secretariat.

For 2022, it is proposed to diversify the format and audience of IANPHI’s online events, and to encourage co-organization of events with partners.

10. IANPHI Foundation Closure Update

The Office of Registry and Patents informed K. Heikkiläinen that there is a need to fulfill a fifth position for the IANPHI Board of Trustees, which is accepted by Anders van der Zande. The decision is officially recorded in the minutes and is sent to the Office. The Secretariat needs to draft a budget proposal for the remaining funds spending, in order to receive approval for the transfer of funds.

This online version of the IANPHI Executive Board meeting report reflects actions taken at the most recent meeting of the IANPHI Executive Board and is provided for the convenience of IANPHI members. This online document is not the official, complete record of the actions of the IANPHI Executive Board, it is merely a summary of actions taken. The IANPHI Executive Board’s official minutes, in their entirety, are on file with the IANPHI Secretariat. Should you have any questions about this online summary of the agenda, actions taken, or the minutes of the meetings of the IANPHI Executive Board, please contact the IANPHI Secretariat at secretariat@ianphi.org. 

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