12th World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA) Congress, Istanbul, Turkey, 27 April - 1 May

The 12th World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA) Congress took place in Istanbul from 27 April - 1 May. It brought together leaders from across the globe to discuss the growing challenges of public health in a world where nations and economies are increasingly interdependent. The Alliance was in attendance at the congress.

The strengthening of the capacity of the public health workforce and system in support of the essential public health functions and the Millennium Development Goals have been central to the work of the World Federation of Public Health Associations and its member organizations. Dr Mubashar Sheikh, the Alliance's Executive Director, was a keynote speaker in the Plenary Session entitled "Making a Difference in Public Health: Education, Research and Practice". During his presentation, he underscored the urgent need to address the shortage of health care workers facing the world today while at the same time emphasizing the critical importance of revitalizing and scaling-up capacities of health workers already in the global workforce. Dr Sheikh added that without substantial reorienting, today's struggling health systems are further likely to be overwhelmed by the growing challenges new emerging diseases, the increasing burden of chronic diseases, ageing populations and public health emergencies. A lively exchange during the Q&A session followed. One of the most significant developments in the recent past has been the 1978 Alma Ata declaration, which is considered a landmark for recognising people’s participation in health systems as central to Primary Health Care and for recognising the role that organised social action plays in securing health gains. Alliance staff were also represented on the panel of sessions that covered international health worker migration issues and on strengthening partnerships.

The World Federation of Public Health Associations is an international, nongovernmental, multi-professional and civil society organization bringing together public health professionals interested and active in safeguarding and promoting the public’s health through professional exchange, collaboration, and action. Founded in 1967, it is the only worldwide professional society representing and serving the broad area of public health, as distinct from single disciplines or occupations. The Federations’ members are national and regional public health associations, as well as regional associations of schools of public health presently numbering more than 70. WFPHA convenes a scientific conference every three years.

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