66th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe

At the 66th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe that was held in Copenhagen last September, representatives from 53 countries met and debated a set of innovative action plans that affect public health. 

WONCA Europe participated in the meeting, and in collaboration with nine other non-governmental organisations, endorsed two statements (the full text is available in the attached documents). In particular, under the agenda item “Strategy and Action Plan for refugee and migrant health in the WHO European Region”, WONCA Europe called for joined action for stronger primary health care with increased collaboration and resources. 

Furthermore, under the agenda item “Strategy and action plan for refugee and migrant health in the WHO European Region”, and acknowledging the necessity to address the health needs and multidimensional implications of the ever-expanding populations of both migrants and displaced people, WONCA Europe endorsed the call for equitable, affordable and high-quality health care services for all migrants and refugees, and improved training for health care professionals. 

The contribution of WONCA Europe was based on the work published during the last two Conferences in Istanbul and Copenhagen, highlighting the legacy of those meetings and their related statements. 


More material including resolutions, highlights & videos, is available on the website of the WHO Regional Office for Europe


A Special Address

Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Denmark addressed the session and talked about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. She pointed out the ability to achieve the sustainable development goals depended on gender equity. 

“I share the belief that girls and women are key to building healthy, prosperous and sustainable societies and communities… Our ability to achieve truly transformative change and results across all 17 goals is dependent on the realisation of gender equality and significant progress for girls and women”, she said. 


DG Margaret Chan

The Director General of WHO, Margaret Chan, addressed the session for the last time, as her term ends next June. She highlighted the European strategy for migrant and refugee health as evidence-based and appropriate, and added: “This is not an isolated crisis but an ongoing reality. People seeking refuge in your countries include many elderly and disabled people, as well as an increasing number of unaccompanied children. I respect that the capacity of individual countries has been pushed to the limits. Thank you for your generosity.” 

She also noted that the pharmaceutical industry had provoked a public outrage. “Even the richest countries in the world cannot afford new treatments for common conditions, such as cancer and HCV that cost $50,000 per patient pet year. This trend is the opposite of sustainability,” she said and urged that ways should be found to ensure a drug pricing that would be fair, yet sufficient to stimulate R&D innovation.

Finally, she called on countries to work with the food industry and tackle childhood obesity. "Take care of your children. Obesity and overweight in children is society’s fault, not theirs,” she said.

The full address is available on YouTube