- Tobacco Control Playbook: The WHO European Region has made significant progress in tobacco control in recent decades, but the fight to beat tobacco remains difficult and complex. Policy-makers need to be equipped with clear facts and well-founded arguments to counter the myths generated by the tobacco industry. However, no single source provided the resources necessary to understand how tobacco industry players act, and how governments and the public health community can respond to their arguments. In light of this, WHO/Europe developed the Tobacco Control Playbook – a resource designed to equip policy makers and tobacco control advocates with the facts to combat tobacco industry tactics.
- Evolution of WHO air quality guidelines: Air pollution from both outdoor and indoor sources represents the single largest environmental risk to health globally. WHO estimates that air pollution exposure was linked to more than 6 million premature deaths in 2012. For nearly 6 decades, WHO has demonstrated its commitment to this public health issue by publishing a series of air quality reports to assess related scientific evidence. The WHO/Europe publication “Evolution of WHO air quality guidelines: past, present and future” offers a history of these air quality guidelines and the role of the scientific evidence that formed the foundation of this work.
- A journey interrupted in Greece: The closure in 2016 of the popular “Balkan route” from Greece to Serbia means that today refugees and migrants who arrive in Greece expecting to stay only briefly often find their journeys interrupted. In 2017, more than 50,000 people waited in tent camps across Greece – stranded. WHO/Europe and the Hellenic Ministry of Health have identified key priorities to address the changing situation in Greece, including vaccination. “In these situations, it is imperative to identify those in the most vulnerable situations,” said Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “Health systems cannot act alone, as the health status of refugees and migrants is directly related to their living conditions and access to basic services.”
- Delivering mobile clinics in northern Syria: WHO/Europe delivered 5 mobile clinics to meet the health needs of sick and injured people in northern Syria. Each unit can provide first aid and emergency care for up to 1 000 people per month. The mobile clinics were provided with the support of European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Operations (ECHO) and the Government of Norway.
- Efforts continue to stop measles and TB: New data and reporting showed room for improvement in efforts to stop communicable diseases like tuberculosis and measles.
- New HBSC Study on feeling low in adolescence: A new Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) Study report, released just prior to the World Health Day #LetsTalk campaign on depression, showed the percentage of young people reporting that they experience low mood more than once a week increases between the ages of 11 and 15, from 13% to 21%. Improving resilience to mental illness among young people is very important, as poor mental health in adolescence is linked to unemployment, crime, increased rates of smoking, drug use, obesity and future mental ill health.
- Celebrating 15 years of SEEHN: For more than 15 years, the South-eastern Europe Health Network (SEEHN) has shown that the health sector contributes to reconciliation, peace and stability in a post-conflict environment. In addition to participating in intercountry initiatives, each country is investing in health and generating results that inform other Network members. At the 4th South-eastern Europe Health Ministerial Forum, the 9 countries in the Network offered compelling examples of intersectoral investments in health, such as improved access to health services for marginalized groups in Romania.
- Highlighting nurses and midwives: The WHO European Region has 7.3 million nurses and midwives, who play a vital role in promoting health, preventing illness and providing care to expectant mothers and newborns, and to people in good and ill health across diverse settings. Between International Day of the Midwife on 5 May and International Nurses Day on 12 May, WHO/Europe featured the voices of nurses and midwives from around the Region. They shared what it means to be a nurse, midwife, researcher,administrator, educator and/or leader, and how they are committed to delivering the highest quality care. In September, the European Member States endorsed a framework for action towards a sustainable health workforce.
- eHealth Week 2017: Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, delivered an inspirational speech to open eHealth Week in Malta, describing the collaboration of eHealth and public health in the WHO European Region as “a beautiful marriage”, and eHealth Week as “a celebration of our commitment and dedication to reaping the benefits of eHealth for all”. The marriage analogy became a common theme throughout eHealth Week. This marked the first time that WHO/Europe participated in organizing the annual event on eHealth.