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Cablegate: World Health Organization European Health Ministers Meet In

VZCZCXRO1642
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTL #0233 1900851
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 080851Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY TALLINN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0697
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TALLINN 000233

COPENHAGEN FOR ESTH OFFICE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SOCI EN
SUBJECT: WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION EUROPEAN HEALTH MINISTERS MEET IN
TALLINN

1. On June 25-27, Estonia hosted the World Health Organization (WHO)
European Ministerial Conference on health systems in Tallinn. This
was the largest high-level event Estonia has ever hosted. Health
ministers, other senior health officials and finance ministers from
53 countries participated. The goal of the conference was to move
health systems higher on the political agenda of European member
states and discuss the linkage between economic growth and health
sector development. WHO Director General Margaret Chan (the first
WHO DG ever to visit Estonia), EU Health Commissioner Androula
Vassiliou, President of the European Investment Bank Philippe
Maystadt, WHO Regional Director for Europe Marc Danzon and Estonian
Prime Minister (PM) Andrus Ansip all spoke at the conference.

2. Prime Minister Ansip's remarks marked the first time in his
3-year tenure as Prime Minister that he has made a national address
devoted to health issues. He highlighted the growing challenge that
financial sustainability of health systems presents for Europe. He
also stressed European Governments' common goals of promoting
healthy lifestyles, effectively managing health systems, securing
quality health care and increasing the use of e-services in the
health sector. Ansip underlined the importance of raising awareness
about healthy life styles as a preventative measure. "Each kroon
invested in healthy lifestyles will save thousands of kroons spent
on medicine in the future," he concluded.

4. The Prime Minister's remarks closely echoed the principle themes
of the WHO European Health Systems Charter (the "Tallinn Charter"),
adopted by member states at the conference. The Tallinn Charter
committed member states to invest in health systems; promote
transparency; engage stakeholders in policy development and
implementation; foster cross-country cooperation and
ensure that national health systems are prepared to respond to
crises. While acknowledging that the problems and facilities in
each country are different, the Charter focuses on common values and
goals: solidarity, equity and participation.

5. Comment: Hosting the WHO Conference gave Estonia an opportunity
to raise its profile within the international community. However,
we were disappointed that PM Ansip did not use this platform to
highlight Estonia's HIV challenges and successes. While Estonia has
the highest HIV/AIDs growth rate in Europe, the local NGO network
was recently recognized by UNAIDS for its innovative and sustainable
approach. The issue of HIV did come up during the meeting between
the Prime Minister and WHO Director General Chan, which received
wide coverage in local media. DG Chan praised Estonia's efforts in
dealing with tuberculosis and HIV and encouraged the GOE to
concentrate on the problem of HIV co-infection. End Comment.

Decker

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