Public health, environmental and social determinants of health (PHE)

Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health (PHE) e-News


10 February 2017

Issue 89, January/February 2017

The January/February issue of the World Health Organization (WHO) Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health (PHE) e-News brings you the latest on the following:


WHO Executive Board announces the names of three nominees for the post of WHO Director-General

The WHO Executive Board selected the following three candidates by vote to be presented to the Seventieth World Health Assembly as nominees for the post of Director-General: Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Dr David Nabarro and Dr Sania Nishtar. Five candidates were interviewed by Member States before the vote. The names of the three nominees were announced at a public meeting on 25 January 2017.

All Member States will cast a vote during the World Health Assembly to be held in May 2017 to elect the new Director-General who will then take office on 1 July 2017.

Nominees for the post of Director-General

Strong support at WHO Executive Board for a chemicals road map

A draft road map to enhance the role of the health sector in the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management, towards a 2020 goal and beyond, outlines concrete actions to be taken in four main areas: risk reduction; knowledge and evidence; institutional capacity; and leadership and coordination. For a large proportion of actions, the lead actor is identified as “all” in recognition of the fact that the entire health sector has a leadership role to play.

During the Executive Board’s discussion, the road map was well received and supported as a useful tool for prioritizing health sector actions at national, regional and international levels.

The road map will be presented to the Seventieth World Health Assembly in May 2017

WHO joins other international agencies in signing a Statement of Intent to align and “green” procurement of health commodities

“We need to make sure that when international organizations procure health commodities, we promote responsible consumption and production patterns and support the Sustainable Development Goals”, said WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan in signing a joint statement at WHO headquarters in Geneva.

WHO and its sister UN agencies collectively procure an estimated US$ 3 billion in health commodities each year. UN agencies procure significant amounts of generic antiretroviral therapies (ARTs), antimalarial drugs and insecticide-impregnated bed nets, antituberculosis medicines as well as condoms and certain vaccines. This sends an important message to suppliers and manufacturers of health commodities that purchasers will increasingly be looking for environmentally- and socially-sourced health commodities, particularly those within the international health development sector.

WHO and the other signatories have agreed to reflect this common commitment to advancing environmentally- and socially-responsible procurement as part of their standard engagement with suppliers and manufactures. They will also include it in their institutional strategies and policies.

Review of Jamaica’s adolescent health programme to leave no one behind

In 2017, the Government of Jamaica will review its national adolescent health programme using the Innov8 approach to reduce health inequities, in partnership with the Pan American Health Organization/WHO’s regional interagency movement A Promise Renewed for the Americas.

A sensitization meeting was held with national stakeholders to kick-start the process and develop a plan of action for undertaking the Innov8 review this year, which is currently being finalized.

The meeting was attended by representatives from Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Republic of Guyana to orient them on Innov8 and explore opportunities to implement the approach.

The meeting was held from 6 to 7 December 2016 in Kingston, Jamaica.

Chemical Risk Assessment Network: Workshop on Human Biomonitoring

Under the umbrella of WHO’s Chemical Risk Assessment Network, a workshop on Human BioMonitoring (HBM) to support chemical risk assessment was held in Bangkok, Thailand in November 2016. The workshop provided a forum to exchange information and knowledge and facilitate future collaboration related to HBM in chemical risk assessment, especially in low resource settings.

The workshop was hosted by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Capacity Building and Research in Environmental Health Science and Toxicology at the Chulabhorn Research Institute. It was attended by 11 network member institutions and other organizations involved in HBM in the region.

Young people join forces with WHO and Member States for environment and health

“We must ensure that young people are fully engaged in decisions on environment and health policies that affect their lives and those of the future generations”, said Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe at the International Youth Conference on Environment, Health and Mobility, organized by European Environment and Health Youth Coalition (EEHYC).

Over 70 young people from 33 countries in the WHO European Region were invited by the Government of Austria to have their say on the future of environment and health policies in Europe and to prepare for an upcoming Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health.

Conference participants elaborated and collectively endorsed a Youth Position Paper on Environment and Health, including a Youth Commitment to Act, with suggestions on strengthening the involvement of youth representatives in decision-making and how young people can help to implement environment and health activities.

The conference was held in Vienna, Austria on 27–28 November 2016.