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Conferences and seminars

10/01/2008 First global conference on task shifting

Date: 8-10 January 2008
Place: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

One of the major constraints to tackling both the HIV/AIDS pandemic and global access to essential health care services is a serious shortage of health workers. At least 57 countries have a crisis shortage of health workers; 36 of those are in Africa. Task shifting is one way the public health community and national governments can address this issue head-on.

Task shifting is the name given to a process of delegation whereby tasks are moved, where appropriate, to less specialized health workers. By reorganizing the workforce in this way, task shifting presents a viable solution for improving health care coverage by making more efficient use of the human resources already available and by quickly increasing capacity while training and retention programmes are expanded.

Several countries are already using task shifting to strengthen their health systems and scale up access to HIV/AIDS treatment and care. WHO, together with the US President Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), has been working to develop global guidelines for task shifting.

These guidelines will be formally launched during the first ever global conference on Task Shifting in Addis Ababa on 8-10 January 2008. The Conference will convene health ministers and other senior government officials, opinion leaders, United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations from both industrialized and resource-constrained countries.

11/12/2007 Tatiana Golikov signs participation in the session of organization committee for preparation and celebration of the 250- anniversary of Moscow Sechenov medical academy.

On December 12 in the museum of the history of medicine of the Moscow medical Sechenov academy takes place the extended session of organization committee for preparation and celebration of the 250- anniversary MMA of name I. Sechenov. In the session of signs the participation is the minister of public health and social development of the Russian Federation, the chairman of the organization committee Tatiana Golikova.

15/11/2007 NDPHS Forum: Healthy Life – Healthy Work (in connection with the 4th Partnership Annual Conference)

Healthy Life – Healthy Work
15 November 2007 in Vilnius, Lithuania

The Forum will discuss the promotion of public health at the workplace and – as one of its outcomes – propose a NDPHS Partnership Strategy: “Health and Safety at Work in the Northern Dimension region - A Decent Work Prerequisite and Challenge for the Future.”

It is foreseen that the strategy paper would take into account major international standard setting documents, e.g., the WHO Global Plan of Action for Workers’ Health, the WHO’s European Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases, the ILO Global Strategy on Occupational Safety and Health, and the ILO Convention No. 187 Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health, as well as the European Union Strategy on Safety and Health at Work 2007–2012.

These international standards can be jointly implemented through a Partnership strategy with the view to adapt them to the specifics of the region and to put them into practice through action plans. The final strategy paper will be presented to the NDPHS Partnership Annual Conference, which takes place the following day at Ministerial level.

It is my pleasure to invite you as expert and/or government representative to the Forum and I am looking forward to meeting you in Vilnius.

n/a Intergovernmental meeting on public health, innovation and intellectual property

Date: 5 - 10 November 2007
Place: Geneva, Switzerland

The need to ensure poor populations have better access to medicines and other healthcare products prompted the WHO Member States in 2006 to ask WHO to establish an Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property. This group is charged with preparing a global strategy and plan of action, which is scheduled to be presented to the World Health Assembly in May 2008.

WHO is facilitating the second session of the working group, which aims to finalize a draft of the global strategy and action plan.

24/09/2007 Call for more research on patient safety

24 SEPTEMBER 2007 | PORTO, PORTUGAL/GENEVA -- WHO and its partners today called for increased research to improve patient safety. They emphasized the need for intensified research at an international conference that opened today in Porto, Portugal. The conference on Patient safety research: shaping the European agenda will examine evidence showing that harm from medical care poses a substantial burden in terms of suffering and death in Europe and around the world.

WHO estimates that tens of millions of patients worldwide endure disabling injuries or death each year, directly attributed to unsafe medical practices and care. In Europe alone, an average of one in every 10 patients admitted to hospital suffers some form of preventable harm. But more research is needed to better understand the full impact of poor patient safety.

The conference, supported by the European Commission, will promote dialogue between researchers, policy-makers and other constituencies in health care in Europe, and build international collaborative research networks. "Research in patient safety offers all WHO Member States a major innovative resource to assist their hospitals in avoiding harm from medical care and ensure that health care reduces patient suffering and does not contribute to it," said Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer for England, who chairs the WHO World Alliance for Patient Safety. "European countries now have the opportunity to translate research findings into tangible actions that can actually save lives."

The conference will build on the work of the WHO World Alliance for Patient Safety and the contribution of the participating scientists and government officials. It will offer opportunities to promote dialogue between researchers, policy-makers and other constituencies involved in health care in Europe. It is jointly organized by the Faculty of Public Health, UK, University College London and the WHO World Alliance for Patient Safety.

Much of the existing research evidence on the burden of harm in health care is from developed countries, although some evidence from developing nations suggests that unsafe care is a major problem there too. Research is needed not only on individual health care areas, but also on the underlying processes and organizational structures that contribute to unsafe care.

Areas where further research is needed include:
Health care-associated infection: Infection caused during health care is estimated to affect some 1.4 million people at any given time. In developed countries the toll is 5% to 10% of patients and in some developing countries, as many as a quarter of patients may be affected. With the sharp rise of antimicrobial resistance in the world, it is key that research now focuses on antimicrobial resistance and the spread of multidrug resistant pathogens.
Adverse drug event: Research estimates show that between 7% and 10% of patients in acute care settings experience an adverse drug event of which some 28-56% are preventable. Hospital admissions due to adverse drug reactions may be more than 10% of the total in some countries. More research is needed in this area, focusing on developing countries, where, it is suggested, rates of adverse drug events are even higher than in the developed world.
Surgery and anaesthesia: These are among the most complex procedures for health systems to deliver and can be among the costliest. Evidence in developed countries indicates that adverse events in the operating room account for at least 50% of all adverse events. In developing countries, surgical care is constrained by poor facilities, lack of trained staff, inadequate technologies and limited supply of drugs and materials. Research is needed to explore the reasons for geographical differences in the incidence of surgical and anaesthesia errors.
Unsafe injection practices: Data show that worldwide up to 40% of injections are given with syringes and needles reused without sterilization and in some countries this proportion is as high as 70%. Unsafe injection practices cause an estimated 1.3 million deaths each year worldwide, a loss of 26 million years of life and an annual burden of US$ 535 million in direct medical costs. Future research should focus on evaluating the impact of injection practices on the burden of diseases transmitted through unsafe injections.
Unsafe blood products: About 5-15% of HIV infections in developing countries are estimated to occur due to unsafe blood transfusions. A WHO study showed that about 60 countries were not able to screen all donated blood for one or more infections including HIV, and other blood-borne infections. Research is urgently needed on the broader aspects of blood safety, including the effectiveness of blood safety strategies and behaviour risk factors among blood donors, particularly in developing countries.
Adverse medical device events: In the United States, more than 1 million such events occur annually. In some developing countries as much as half of medical equipment is unusable or only partly usable. Effective research and surveillance programmes are needed to detect types, frequency and clinical settings of such events.
For further information, please contact:

Dr Iciar Larizgoitia
WHO, Geneva
Tel.: +4122 791 2133
Mobile: +41 79 562 2912
E-mail: larizgoitiai@who.int

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