The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Australian Government today launched their first ever country cooperation strategy, on the sidelines of the sixty-eighth session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific, which opened this morning.
The Australia-WHO strategy is the first in the Region to focus on how WHO and a high-income country can better work together.
It provides a vision for the Organization’s joint work with Australia over the next five years to improve the health of Australians and contribute to better health for people in the broader region and beyond.
Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, and Minister Greg Hunt personally launched the Australia — WHO Country Cooperation Strategy 2018–2022 at the Regional Committee.
“This strategy is the first of its kind, but it builds on a history of strong cooperation, and looks towards the future,” Dr Shin said.
“I sincerely thank Minister Hunt and the Department of Health for their commitment to this strategy — and for paving the way for other high-income countries in this Region, with a new form of engagement that goes beyond the traditional donor country relationship.”
Minister Hunt said partnerships such as the Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) placed Australia at the forefront of international best practice in health policy.
“This strategy strengthens our systems to guard against emerging diseases at home and abroad, boosts our public health capacities and improves our already robust regulations to ensure we have safe and effective medicines and treatments,” Minister Hunt said.
Traditionally, country cooperation strategies are established between WHO and developing countries, where the Organization has offices and provides direct support.
The strategy launched today represents a new way of doing things, aimed not only at improving the health of Australians, but also at leveraging the experience and expertise available in Australia to boost support for other countries in the Region.
The strategy is framed around three foundations of cooperation:
- WHO contributes to better health for all Australians, in particular through its work to set international norms and standards on how best to prevent and manage disease;
- Australia contributes to regional and global health by sharing expertise and experience with other countries, facilitated by WHO; and
- Australia and WHO work in partnership to promote and contribute to better health for all people.
The strategic priorities have been identified for the CCS:
- Enhancing health security, with a focus on strengthening resilience to threats such as priority infectious diseases, emerging disease outbreaks and other emergencies with health consequences
- Promoting people-centred health systems and universal health coverage (UHC), with a focus on exchanging information and expertise in health systems policy; and
- Strengthening health regulation, to benefit from Australia’s expertise in this area.