Astana to host WHO Regional Committee for Europe in 2023

WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge (L) commended Kazakhstan’s steps to increase funding for healthcare system and social health insurance during the meeting with Kazakh Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov (R).

Astana, The Gulf Observer: Astana will host the 73rd session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for Europe in 2023, announced WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge during his Sept. 22 visit to Kazakhstan.

During his meeting with Kazakh Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov, Kluge said that the WHO endorses Kazakhstan’s efforts to ensure the population’s access to medical care and the social well-being of health workers.

The sides also addressed the country’s steps to improve the quality of medical services, export of the domestic QazVac vaccine against COVID-19, professional liability insurance for medical workers, strengthening their status, and social protection.

Smailov focused on the country’s work to raise wages for healthcare workers, upgrade health infrastructure nationwide, improve medical education and expand funding for scientific research. He added that Kazakhstan intends to enhance cooperation with WHO and share best practices in priority areas.

“My sincere thanks to Kazakh Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov and his government for hosting the WHO Europe’s 73rd Regional Committee next year, preceded by a global meeting marking the 45th anniversary of the Alma-Ata declaration on Health for All. We truly value our partnership,” Kluge wrote on Twitter.

During her meeting with Kluge, Kazakh Minister of Healthcare Azhar Giniyat focused on the implementation of an agreement for 2022-2023 to improve the nation’s health. Under the agreement, the WHO will assist the country in ensuring full access to quality healthcare, reducing poverty risks, providing protection during health emergencies, and developing a healthy society where public health action and sound government policies contribute to better living conditions.

“We are grateful to WHO for technical, advisory, and methodological assistance in solving acute public health issues,” Giniyat said.

The sides discussed the country’s chairmanship in the WHO Regional Committee for Europe between September 2022 and September 2023.

The acute issues of the Aral Sea crisis, which require cooperative efforts, were covered during the meeting of the WHO official with Olga Perepechina, deputy chair of the Senate, the upper chamber of the Kazakh parliament.

“Next year, at the invitation of the Kazakh Senate, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly members are expected to visit the Aral Sea region to witness the scale of the catastrophe and outline areas for cooperation. Kazakhstan requests assistance from WHO country offices at the Regional Office for Europe to consolidate efforts and resources to develop a unified approach to the study of factors affecting the health of the population of the Aral Sea region,” said Perepe china.

Kluge will also attend the 35th session of the Council on Healthcare Cooperation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Turkistan on Sept. 22-23.