National health coordinators of the SEEHN Member States, representatives of the partner countries, international organizations, directors of the SEEHN Regional Health Development Centers met virtually for the 44th plenary meeting of the South Eastern Europe Health Network on 21 December 2021.

Organized by the SEE Health Network Serbian Presidency, Executive Committee and Secretariat, the event was held virtually for the third time considering the ongoing pandemic circumstances.

The opening remarks were given by Prof. Dr. Ferenc Vicko, State Secretary of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia, Dr. Danijela Urosevic, Chair of SEEHN Executive Committee, Dr. Mira Jovanovski Dasic, Head of Secretariat, SEE Health Network, Mr. Robb Butler, Executive Director of the WHO Regional Director`s Office and Ms. Tanja Miščević, RCC`s Deputy Secretary General.

SEEHN Member States mitigation of the COVID-19 pandemic and mental health in SEE region was central to the agenda of the 44th plenary meeting. Although the Covid-19 health crisis is still unfolding and its consequences are yet to be fully assessed, the evidence that has already been built on mental health impact of the pandemic is driving renewed interest to mobilize action to build mental health resilience.

The meeting represented a unique opportunity to draw on lessons from the response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the region and address the complex issue of the mental health burden as well as long-standing systemic problems and shortcomings in the mental health services within the Region. 

The session included three keynote presentations, delivered by Dr. Ledia Lezeri, Regional Advisor for Mental Health of the WHO EURO, a country case presentation on Serbian Experience presentedby Dr. Danijela Urosevic and the progress achieved and next steps of the Comparative Analysis “Mental Health Situation Analysis in the SEE region”, and shared byAss. Prof. Dr Stojan Bajraktarov, National Focal Point for Mental Health to the South Eastern Europe Health Network  from the Republic of North Makedonia.

At its December plenary meeting, SEEHN took stock of the Serbian Presidency work in the second term of 2021 and laid the groundwork for its activities in 2022.  The Serbian Presidency also put forward the proposal for the organization of the fifth SEEHN Ministerial Forum by the end of June 2022.

A specific session  of the plenary was dedicated to the collaboration activities during 2021 and next steps for defining the possible areas of collaboration in 2022, highlighting a multistakeholder commitment to support the SEEHN Member States  in achieving long-term results and sustainable health gains  within the Region.

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