You can find below the address delivered by the Director of the SEEHN Secretariat during the panel discussion on “Building countries areas and partners synergies in support to the key priority initiatives and actions” 

Dear Regional Director, Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my immense pleasure to participate at this highly important meeting on behalf of the South Eastern-Europe Health Network Secretariat.

Dear Dr. Kluge, we wish to commend you for your strong leadership for health throughout the European Region and to thank you for hosting this valuable multi country and multi partner dialogue. It is the right moment to gather and openly discuss the critical priorities and synergies for the Western Balkans health and for closing the health gap with the EU.

The South Eastern Europe Health Network is the oldest health alliance in the SEE: this year, we celebrate 20 years of collaborative efforts for better health in the SEE, including our Western Balkans Member States. Past 20 years have demonstrated our strong and steady dedication to support our countries and communities to improve health and wellbeing.

We are fully supportive to the WHO European Roadmap for Health in the Western Balkans: the time is right to join forces of countries and partners to put health high in and beyond the current pandemic, to invest more and where most needed. SEEHN stands ready to support it through its own efforts, and jointly with partners.

Next year we plan for the Ministerial Forum, and where the outcome Ministerial Pledge, would for sure do justice to the Roadmap, as we have today witnessed the statements of the Ministers of Health of our Member States: it will present a strong contribution to achieving the objectives of the Roadmap.

Our current activities in the areas of sexual and reproductive health, colorectal cancer screening, childhood malnutrition and obesity, healthy lifestyles health literacy, strengthening health systems to respond to the air pollution challenges, and others, will continue contributing to the same goal. Our efforts related to health of the healthcare workers, mental health and other activities in the pandemic will continue beyond it and support planning for full recovery and improving health beyond the pandemics.

The Roadmap represents a sub-regional strategy that strongly orients us to invest into the areas and projects that matter and will have impact, based on the vast evidence that you have presented in the paper. It will help our efforts for resetting our health agenda.

Reconstruction, however, can remain intangible unless leaders are able to think creatively and beyond their immediate organizational roles. I would like to command the leadership and the commitment of both our Western Balkans Member States and the WHO Regional Office for Europe for the joint action to accelerate an equitable and sustainable recovery and closing the health gap.

We see the WHO European Roadmap for the Western Balkans 2021-2025 as a critical guidance towards devising stronger health systems resilient to future pandemics.

We are convinced that this strategic guidance will accelerate the implementation of the European Program of Work and will create an interplay of countries and partners for better health outcomes.

With such a vision comes even greater responsibility and more expectations. Let me assure you that the South Eastern Europe Health Network remains a strong partner to implement the Roadmap objectives. It provides us a much-needed devise to plan our action in coherence and unity necessary to achieve its goals.

Dear colleagues,

Solidarity, unity, and social cohesion are at the very core of the SEEHN and present its foundation. We are looking forward to joining energies and through partnerships to contribute and implement this ambitious Roadmap to the best of our abilities and in the ultimate interest of our people’s well-being and closing the health gap with EU.

Thank you for your attention.

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