IANPHI President's Letter | April 2021

Dear IANPHI colleagues,

It has been a busy month for IANPHI. I am always hugely impressed by the energy and commitment the network can bring to our shared agenda when everyone is so stretched supporting their national programmes; this is testament to the truth that we are stronger together.

The first IANPHI webinar of 2021 was held on 14 April and was a fascinating discussion which focussed on NPHIs' roles and activities in COVID-19 vaccination and the challenges they identified. The full webinar can be viewed here if you missed it.

The IANPHI European Network meeting was held on 21-22 April, expertly hosted by the Estonian National Institute for Health Development. The meeting had lively and engaged discussions on increased regional collaboration, IANPHI’s strategic priorities, digital public health and COVID-19. Voting to elect the new Chair and Vice-Chair of the IANPHI European Network is currently open until this Friday, 7 May 2021.

We also published our 2020 IANPHI Progress Report which highlights our mission, achievements and impact in an unprecedented year marked by COVID. Well worth a read.

Also this month, I represented IANPHI at the G7 roundtable discussion on opportunities for greater collaboration on public health in the African region. Dr Ahmed Ogwell, Deputy Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, highlighted the strong collaboration with IANPHI in support of public health system development across the continent and Dr Natalie Mayet from South Africa also joined me in setting out how peer to peer support between NPHIs will continue to be a significant resource in our collective efforts to build back better and fairer. We emphasised the importance of G7 nations investing in and providing leadership through their NPHIs and through their membership of IANPHI.

We were also invited to participate in a high-level meeting between WHO and USAID – one of the potential action areas arising from that meeting is a collaboration with IANPHI and other partners to harness the power of NPHIs in strengthening the Essential Public Health Functions.

I am delighted to say that our Executive Board at its meeting this month approved the final version of the IANPHI Strategy. This will be published shortly and will be followed by an implementation plan working alongside partners to build stronger, internationally linked and mutually supportive public health systems globally. The next large challenge will be to ensure that we can mobilise and deploy the collective capability of the IANPHI network to provide operational support to our members as they build stronger public health systems. We also agreed to make efforts to expand our network’s membership and have identified a number of new potential national and associate members as well as partners. Initial contact with potential members will be made through our regional network Chairs and Vice-Chairs. I am also delighted to say that Dr Quentin Sandifer, retiring chair of our European Network, has been asked by the Executive Board to stay on as a Strategic Adviser to IANPHI. Quentin will continue to provide advice and support to the incoming chair and vice chair and in particular on the strengthening collaboration between IANPHI and WHO Europe.

And finally, on 12 May we will host the next webinar on the impact of heat waves during the COVID-19 pandemic and the lessons learned by NPHIs from summer 2020. You can register for the webinar hereThe webinar was organised jointly with the webinar "Time for heat-health action: Updated evidence for effective prevention" hosted on 5 May by the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health.

With best wishes,

Duncan Selbie

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