Rio Statement on Health Equity and Priorities for 2022: IANPHI President's Letter | January 2022

Dear IANPHI colleagues,

I would like to wish you all a happy and healthy new year. We continue together in our response to COVID-19 and I very much hope 2022 brings us more progress. 

Thank you all, and of course to our host, Fiocruz, for the huge success of the virtual 2021 IANPHI Annual Meeting. I was once again enthralled by the enthusiasm, dedication and strength of collaboration demonstrated by the members of our network. At the meeting we discussed the Rio de Janeiro Statement on the Role of National Public Health Institutes in Facing Health Inequalities and agreed on its publication following further comments from members and review by the IANPHI Executive Board. I am delighted to say the statement has now been published on our website and urges IANPHI's member organizations to place the promotion of health equity at the core of their work.

I want to take this opportunity of my first message of 2022 to share with you my top three priorities for IANPHI for this year:

1. Following the publication of the IANPHI Strategy last year, my priority is to ensure that we deliver year 1 of our IANPHI Strategic Action Plan, which includes:

  • Supporting NPHI development and strengthening through a maturity model and other related programmes of work;
  • Developing three key thematic committees on climate change and public health; public health professional development and NPHI capacity building; and pandemic preparedness response and recovery;
  • Developing our regional networks which are responsible for sharing good practice and building linkages between institutions, within geographical regions and strengthening linkages with other regions;
  • Working with key strategic partners to further our reach;
  • Underpinning all of the above, exploring opportunities for funding and sponsorship, developing a knowledge portal and a robust communications plan.
As part of this action plan, the Robert Koch Institute with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health will lead the modernisation of the IANPHI Framework for the creation and development of Public Health Institutes. This will reflect the lessons learnt through the pandemic and the renewed emphasis by the WHO on the importance of the Essential Public Health Functions and will be launched on 28 January 2022.

The IANPHI Climate Change and Public Health Committee met for the first time yesterday, building on the IANPHI Roadmap for Action on Health and Climate Change launched at COP26. I am pleased to share the announcement of an event entitled Health as a Lever for Action on Climate Change, co-organised by Santé publique France and IANPHI on the occasion of the French Presidency of the European Union Council, on 8 April 2022.

2. Build on our strong foundations by welcoming new members to IANPHI

3. Continue to formalise our relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure we bring public health to the fore, contributing to the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence, the Global Strategic Preparedness Network, and other initiatives such as a review of the Essential Public Health Functions. 

I am delighted to inform you that Santé publique France has signed a new hosting agreement with IANPHI which confirms it will continue to host the IANPHI Secretariat for an additional four-year period. We are so honoured and grateful for their valued contribution to our network.

We have also worked hard to develop a proposal for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to support the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence and work with NPHIs in target countries as they develop proposals for the BMGF Grand Challenge on integrated surveillance. I hope to be able to update you more on this in my next message. 

Last week IANPHI, WHO and the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Union (ASPHER) co-convened a meeting on the Essential Public Health Functions and Public Health Workforce capacity. This is an important agenda that aligns IANPHI and ASPHER commitment in support of public health workforce capacity development with global health objectives, including the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage as well as the priority of developing the public health emergency response capability that has been called upon in support of the COVID-19 pandemic response. IANPHI will work with WHO over the next two months to develop an action plan for workforce development that is very much aligned with our IANPHI Strategic Action Plan.

I will keep you regularly informed of our progress through the year. I also hope to join the regional meetings to get a better understanding of regional perspectives.

With best wishes,


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