68th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe

Representatives from the 53 countries in the WHO European Region met at the 68th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in Rome (17th–20th September). WONCA Europe was one of the non-state actors  participating in the session with a delegation consisting of Anna Stavdal (President), Mehmet Ungan (President-Elect) and Harris Lygidakis (Honorary Secretary).

Key topics in the agenda were:

  • Advancing public health in the WHO European Region for sustainable development;
  • Can people afford to pay for health care? New evidence on financial protection in Europe;
  • Action plan to improve public health preparedness and response in the WHO European Region;
  • Strategy on the health and well-being of men in the WHO European Region;
  • Vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization.

 

On behalf of WONCA Europe, Anna Stavdal presented the statement "Overdiagnosis in health care and overmedicalisation of the society" under the agend item "Advancing public health in the WHO European Region for sustainable development". This statement was supported by: the European and World Federation of Occupational Therapists (COTEC and WFOT), European Forum for Primary Care (EFPC), Medicus Mundi International, Studiorum, Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Europe and the International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ISPRM).

"Overdiagnosis has an immense impact; it decreases the quality of healthcare, puts patients at risk of harm, over-stretches health systems, is costly and undermines population health. Overdiagnosis is a publichealth matter: it does harm to healthy individuals and steel resources from those who are in the greatest needs of medical care."

 

Furthermore, Harris Lygidakis presented the statement "Vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization: leaving no one behind", which was submitted under agenda item "Vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization". This statement was supported by: the European and World Federation of Occupational Therapists (COTEC and WFOT), European Forum for Primary Care (EFPC), Medicus Mundi International, Studiorum, and the International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ISPRM).

"Our commitment is that primary health care professionals, including family doctors and allied primary health practitioners, will continue working with determination to tackle misconceptions and counter misinformation regarding vaccination; strive to provide evidence-based knowledge to the general public and improve its health literacy; foster the public’s trust in health institutions, authorities and immunization programmes."