IANPHI President's Annual Letter | January 2024

Dear IANPHI Members and Partners:

As IANPHI welcomes 2024, I extend my warmest wishes to each and every one of you.

Since 2020 we've seen a renewed collective commitment to enhancing public health capacities at the national, regional and global levels. Concurrently, structural changes are underway worldwide, prompting deep reflections on organizational design and effectiveness of public health systems. As a result, many National Public Health Institutes (NPHIs) have undergone changes in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, while others will be taking place in the future and in different parts of the world.

In October 2022, we officially established a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Health Organization (WHO), reflecting the recognition of NPHIs as crucial components of the post-pandemic era to strengthen public health. IANPHI’s mission remains steadfast: to strengthen the capacity and capability of public health infrastructure globally, envisioning a world where each country hosts an NPHI capable of deploying Essential Public Health Functions (EPHFs).

  • First, to strengthen the capabilities of public health surveillance systems, we initiated a partnership with WHO’s Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence, led by Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu.
  • Second, IANPHI participated in the launch of the Global Health Emergency Corps (GHEC), which reflects a comprehensive strategy to enhance organizational preparedness and collective response to future global crises. This will be discussed further during our upcoming 2024 Annual Meeting.
  • Third, IANPHI is an active partner of the Roadmap for Public Health and Emergency Workforce for the transition to competency-based training across various public health disciplines.
  • Fourth, a consultation workshop with WHO was organized on the operationalization of public health actions based on the EPHFs framework.
  • Finally, IANPHI remained particularly active in efforts to support the development of NPHIs’ capacity globally to be key advocates and actors of climate mitigation and adaptation.

IANPHI has an important advocacy role to play in international fora. It is indispensable to be present in the room when discussions are held on matters that hold significance to IANPHI.

Dr. Jeffrey P. Koplan, IANPHI co-founder and principal investigator at our U.S. Secretariat, represented IANPHI at the CSIS Bipartisan Alliance on Global Health Security with key U.S. leaders in health and public health.

I am proud of our presence at the opening session of the 17th World Congress on Public Health in May, at the World Health Summit and particularly at the GHEC launch event with WHO, as well as at the European Health Forum Gastein to discuss new partnerships for public health.

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all who have contributed to representing IANPHI, making our voice stronger.

In 2023, we made substantial efforts to strengthen our resources and refine our investment strategy, aiming to improve IANPHI’s sustainability and bolster its capacity for implementing projects.

As we welcome nine new members in early 2024, we anticipate new perspectives and opportunities to further expand the network and shape the future direction of the Association. IANPHI has now established its five Thematic Committees on Climate Change & Public Health, Essential Public Health Functions, Public Health Professional Development, Pandemic Preparedness, Response and Recovery (PPRR), and Social & Public Health Inequalities. The enthusiastic response to the call for participation in these committees reflects your keen interest and willingness to share and highlight experiences and practices relevant to these five topics. From these committees we hope to use our collective experience and expertise to focus on key themes and activities that will be of benefit to our members and partners.

Acknowledging regional initiatives as complementary to IANPHI’s global strategy, it has been an honor to witness the growth of our four Regional Networks since 2018.

IANPHI has worked towards more webinars allowing member institutes to raise topics and discuss urgent global health issues with peers and Partner organizations. Out of the 9 webinars facilitated by IANPHI in 2023, 8 were regional initiatives open to the entire global network.

As provided for in their workplans, the IANPHI Europe and IANPHI Latin America and Caribbean Networks successfully organized their Annual Meeting respectively on April 20-21 hosted by the National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA) of Portugal and October 16-18 hosted by the National Institute of Health of El Salvador. The first focused on "Public Health and Wellbeing in the Next 10 Years: New Challenges, New Responses”, and the second on “The role of NPHIs in mental health and in fighting hunger,” highlighting the importance of regional exchanges in addressing common challenges.

Looking ahead, the IANPHI 2024 Annual Meeting in Kigali on February 7-8, hosted by the Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) and thanks to a close collaboration and support from WHO, promises an appealing program and numerous side events. I look forward to meeting you all, members and partners, to discuss the value of investing in public health and in NPHIs.

I would like to acknowledge the dedication of our Executive Board Members, Thematic Committee Chairs, and Regional Network Chairs and Vice-Chairs. I extend my congratulations to two distinguished Members of our Executive Board, Dr. Juan Rivera Dommarco and Prof. Lothar H. Wieler for receiving the 2023 American Society for Nutrition Award and the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

I express my sincere appreciation to the Secretariat and U.S. Office teams for their remarkable work.

While this letter may not have captured every detail of our collective achievements in 2023, I want to underscore that the strength of IANPHI lies in its members - your dedication at the local, regional, and global levels is truly commendable. Together, we aspire to be the most global of local organizations, ensuring relevance at every level and influencing impactful decisions globally.

I express my deepest pride in the work we do and my sincere gratitude for our members’ efforts in positioning IANPHI as a prominent partner in the post-pandemic world. Let us forge ahead with determination and unity, embodying the spirit of a truly global organization. Meanwhile, rest assured that IANPHI will persist in making every effort to support its member institutes.

Wishing you a year filled with success, resilience, and continued collaboration.

Warm regards,
Duncan Selbie

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