Indigenous Public Health takes a Leap Forward on the International Stage 

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The World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA) is pleased to announce the formation of its first Indigenous Working Group.

In April 2017, at the 15th World Congress on Public Health, over 40 Indigenous delegates at the Yarning Circle supported the formation of an Indigenous Working Group, which was ratified by the Governing Council of the WFPHA on the 15th of November 2017.

It is estimated that there are 370 million Indigenous People across 70 countries around the world, who often are a minority in their own country, and experience poorer health and lower life expectancy.

Michael Moore, President of the WFPHA, said: “The formation of this group demonstrates the WFPHA commitment to working with Indigenous peoples from around the world to improve their health and wellbeing.”

The group will be co-chaired by Adrian Te Patu from New Zealand who is also a member of the Governing Council, and Carmen Parter from Australia who is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Vice President for the Public Health Association of Australia. Emma Rawson from New Zealand and Summer May Finlay from Australia are co-vice chairs.

“The Indigenous Working Group aims to assist in reducing the health disparity and inequities experienced by Indigenous people globally,” said Mr. Te Patu, who recognizes the “differences among Indigenous peoples but also our similarities which are the strengths of this group.”

The Working Group is underpinned by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, where self- determination is a key component; therefore the Indigenous Working Group will be led by Indigenous peoples.

“It is important to recognize that this group embodies Indigenous self-determination and will be led by Indigenous peoples,” said Mr. Moore.

“To address public health concerns among Indigenous peoples culturally appropriate solutions are required. The Governing Council understands that Indigenous Nations know what is required and have the skills and capacity to address the issues they face,” said Mr. Moore.

Carmen Parter, Co-Chair said, “This is an opportunity for Indigenous peoples to come together to support each other and seek out research collaborations that develop the evidence base that informs global Indigenous public health policies.”

The Working Group’s objectives are: to bring together Indigenous peoples from around the world to share and learn from each other, engage in collective advocacy, partner with existing international groups working in Indigenous affairs, and source any funding or in-kind support to support the work of the Indigenous Working Group.

Indigenous members of WFPHA are invited to join the Working Group, with non-Indigenous people invited to join as associate members.

The Working Group hopes to hold its first face to face meeting in May 2018 at the WFPHA General Assembly in Geneva.

Please follow the Working Group on Twitter @IndigenousWFPHA.

Statement to the WPRO on Behalf of WFPHA


WFPHA President, Michael Moore, made a statement to the Western Pacific Region of the WHO (WPRO) on behalf of the WFPHA during the week of October 9-13, 2017.

Chairperson, Excellences, Distinguished Colleagues,
I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and pay my respects to their elders past and present.

WFPHA is an NGO composed of multidisciplinary national PHAs. This year we celebrate 50 years of bringing together PHAs globally to advocate for better public health.

We believe that health systems and public health functions should be treated as global public goods. This goal can be achieved through political, social, environmental and economic change across all sectors for better and more sustainable health.

Health Promotion is one of three goals along with Protection and Prevention. Our vision for health, A Global Charter for the Public’s Health, was developed in collaboration with WHO, and in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The World Federation works with public health professionals and over 100 of their associations worldwide for better health outcomes for all and to improve and sustain planetary health.

We strive ourselves, and we encourage others, to fully apply the mechanisms available to government, industry, private enterprise, academia and civil society to embrace health promotion, prevention, and protection. In line with the SDGs, we endeavor to promote equity and social inclusion and work with others to protect the health of our planet as fundamental to human health. Harnessing knowledge, skills, and priorities through strong community engagement is fundamental to achieving these goals.

Public health is dependent on many sectors. We call on all governments to work with a wide range of professionals to immediately develop further public health functions and quality health and other systems as global public resources.

We call on you to hold all sectors accountable for the health impacts of all policies and actions, consistent with their responsibilities in striving to achieve the reality and the intent of the SDGs.

Open Letter to PMI

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Currently, 113 organizations that represent global health, human rights, consumer protection, and the medical field demand that Philip Morris International cease the production, marketing, and sale of cigarettes.  Tens of millions have died unnecessarily as a direct result of tobacco use.

In 1954, Philip Morris promised to “stop business tomorrow” if it became apparent that cigarettes are harmful to health.  Since then, an overwhelming amount of scientific proof has determined that there is no safe level of tobacco consumption and that cigarettes provide no necessary benefit to their consumers. However, despite this evidence, sales and consumption continue.

The right to health and the right to life should be upheld. Thus, given the deadly nature of tobacco smoke and the extremely addictive nature of nicotine, companies should immediately cease the actions that cause or contribute to the impacts.

Why do companies continue to sell these harmful products? The only possible explanation is that they feel they can still profit from doing so. That decision – to continue a business model that one has admitted is irresponsible – is unacceptable.  In addition, to continue profiting from a product that one knows will kill a significant proportion of their customers when used as intended is monstrous.

We all have it in our immediate power to change the fate of millions of people, perhaps hundreds of millions. Do the right thing by immediately ceasing the production, marketing and sale of cigarettes. 

 Joint Letter to Dr. Tedros- Towards a Global Treaty for the Right to Health

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On September 6th, 2017, the World Federation of Public Health Associations, along with other Organizations, NGOs, and professionals involved in Global Public health, signed a joint letter that was submitted to the Director-General of the World Health Organization Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, urging him to endorse and establish a WHO process to implement a Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH).

FCGH aims to create a right to health governance framework. It would be a global health treaty based on the right to health and closing national and global health inequities. It would provide standards to ensure health care and underlying determinants of health, such as clean water and nutritious food, for all, along with an international and domestic financing framework to secure sufficient, sustained funds, while addressing the social determinants of health.

You can read the letter to Dr. Tedros requesting his support to advance this proposed global treaty, which would make it legally-binding on governments to assure that everyone’s right to health is realized.

The Landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)


The World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA), World Medical Association (WMA), International Council of Nurses (ICN), and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) welcome the landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) which was adopted on July 7th, 2017 (see below).  This treaty includes 122 non-nuclear-weapon states.

The TPNW prohibits the development, testing, production, possession, stockpiling, use, or threatened use of nuclear weapons on the basis of their catastrophic health, environmental, and humanitarian impacts. This is a significant step towards eliminating the most destructive weapons ever created.  

The TPNW parties must now work diligently and urgently in order to bring the nuclear-armed and nuclear-dependent states into compliance with this norm. We urge all states to sign the treaty after it opens for signature at the United Nations in New York on September 20th, 2017.  Thereafter, it must be ratified as soon as possible so it can enter into force.

As highlighted in the #GlobalCharter, the #WFPHA is committed to protecting the public. This includes protection from the health impacts of nuclear weapons. The WFPHA also call on governments to hold all sectors accountable for the health impacts of their policies and actions, consistent with the intent of the social determinants of health and their responsibilities to strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (#SDG).#MelbourneDemandForAction

Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

History was made at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on July 7, 2017, when the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted by a vote of 122 Member States to 1 (The Netherlands, with 1 abstention, Singapore).

This Treaty prohibits development, testing, production, manufacture, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, use, and the threat of use of nuclear weapons.

The World Federation of Public Health Associations welcomes this historic Treaty and urges all states to sign, ratify, and implement it as a key step to safeguard global health.

The long process that it took to get to this point shows the power of joining together and speaking with one voice. While this Treaty can be considered a great achievement, we must continue the fight against nuclear weapons as there is still a lot of work to be done. The nuclear-armed and nuclear-dependent states that are not a part of this Treaty have been provided with practical and flexible ways to comply with these prohibitions once they decide to join. If they persist in defying the norms established by the Treaty, they will be declared as outlaw states.

John Loretz, the program director of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) has stated that “The nine nuclear-armed states, which refused to participate in these negotiations, are now faced with a stark choice. They can comply with the norms that have been clearly and unambiguously established by the Treaty and eliminate their nuclear weapons, as they should have done decades ago, or they will be stigmatized as outlaw states.” These nine nuclear-armed states are Russia, the United States, France, China, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea. While these nine countries are recognized as owning nuclear weapons, it does not mean that they are the only countries that possess them.

Other countries, such as Belgium, Germany, Italy, Turkey, and the Netherlands, deploy and store American nuclear weapons as part of NATO agreements. Other non-nuclear countries, such as South Korea, Canada, and Greece, previously have had similar agreements with the United States. These countries have also been recognized by Loretz, who said, “The states that base their security on the nuclear weapons possessed by other states can either withdraw from extended nuclear deterrence arrangements and cease all military planning and preparation for the use of nuclear weapons, or face similar global condemnation.”

Overall, this Treaty is great for the shared interests of humanity. In addition, it provides a powerful legal, moral, and political tool moving forward. It has been a long and difficult process leading up to this point, and we must continue to work together and speak with one voice to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely in the world.

WFPHA Stands in Solidarity with the Dismissed Academics of Turkey 

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On July 3, 2017, the World Federation of Public Health Associations decided to take action against the arbitrary dismissal of thirteen academics from the Dokuz Eylül University in Izmir, Turkey on June 28, 2017.

The Federation demands withdrawal of the dismissals as a consequence of seven statutory decrees targeting academics that signed the peace declaration of the Academics for Peace group, which has been working since November 2012, to establish peace conditions in Turkey.

WFPHA President, Micheal Moore, addressed this issue by sending three statement letters respectively to Prof. Dr. Adnan Kasman, Medical Faculty Dean, Prof. Dr. Oguz Dicle of Dokuz Eyül university in Izmir, as well as the President of The Turkish Council of Higher Education (CoHE) Prof. Dr. Yekta Saraç.

Thousands of Turkish academics that signed the declaration have been dismissed since its publication on January 11, 2016, and hundreds have been jailed. Many of them are highly respected academics that only asserted their freedom of speech and their desire to put an end to state perpetuated violence.

Among them, acclaimed surgeon Prof. Dr. Cem Terzi recently expressed his own opinion regarding the dismissals in the following words, “We are here for the truth and the peace. We, as academicians, might pay for it. We are ready to pay for the peace…Academics do not obey.”

A Public Health Approach to the Proposed Legislation to Legalize and Regulate Cannabis in Canada


The President of WFPHA, Michael Moore, recently wrote a letter to the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, on Canada’s proposed legislation to legalize and regulate cannabis. WFPHA sustains the Government of Canada’s decision to enact legislation to legalize the non-medical production, distribution, and use of cannabis.

President Moore also states that legalizing cannabis does not mean ignoring the significant health risks associated with this substance. The legislation must recognize and consider the real risks associated with cannabis consumption, to ensure that it includes disease/injury prevention, harm reduction approaches, and the means/tools to prevent consumption among children and adolescents.

What Canada does with respect to the legalization of cannabis could be a point of reflection for the world.

International Health Community Rejects TTP Revival in Open Letter to Trade Ministers Meeting (FED)

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Prominent public health, advocacy, and professional organizations have called on trade ministers from eleven remaining Trans-Pacific Partnership countries not to attempt to resurrect the deal at their meeting in Hanoi on May 21-22, 2017. The open letter is signed by the World Federation of Public Health Associations and leading health organizations from most of the non-US participating countries - including Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, whose governments are leading moves to revive the agreements since the U.S. withdrawal. The signatories reiterated concerns they and others had previously raised regarding the negative impacts of the Agreement on people's rights to health, access to affordable medicines, and the ability of governments to regulate health-damaging activities of corporations.

The petition was signed by the WFPHA.

WFPHA is Concerned Regarding Proposed Next Steps in the TPP11

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Photo Credit: Food Business News 

From the moment he took office, United States President Donald J. Trump expressed his willingness to direct the US administration to pursue, wherever possible, bilateral trade negotiations instead of multilateral negotiations.

This January, he signed a Presidential Memorandum regarding the Withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Agreement, also called TPP. The TPP agreement was originally signed by twelve member countries including the US, on February 4, 2016, but some of them have not yet ratified it.

The remaining 11 Countries involved in the negotiations are starting to fear that other members will withdraw from the TPP, which originally aimed to cut trade barriers in some of East Asia’s fastest-growing economies.

One area in which the TPP is particularly innovative concerns the protection of intellectual property rights in many commercial sectors, including the pharmaceutical sector, thus making the access to lower-priced generic medicines more restricted and difficult for member countries.

For this reason, the health community is concerned about the possible outcomes of the new TPP11 negotiations, following the withdrawal of the US and demands for a more inclusive renegotiation of the terms of the Agreement taking into account the public health needs of countries involved.

On August 25th, sixty-seven health organizations, including The World Federation of Public Health Associations, published an open letter to make their views known to their governments calling to promote health, protect people and guarantee access to affordable medicines in all TPP11 countries.

The WFPHA has been advocating to promote health and well-being, protect populations and prevent diseases for more than 50 years as in its #GlobalCharter for the Public’s Health. It is now time for governments to take into account this approach in their trade and international negotiations!

The WFPHA Present the First Nations Wellbeing Statement

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The World Federation of Public Health Associations has signed the First Nations Wellbeing Statement.

A World Leaders Dialogue on Suicide Prevention for First Nations people was held at the World Congress on Public Health (WCPH) in Melbourne, Australia, on April 4th, 2017.

The Black Dog Institute and Australian Health Promotion Association sponsored this event. Richard Weston, the Chief Executive of Australian’s Healing Foundation, facilitated this event, which included presentations from leading global scholars and practitioners in suicide prevention.

This paper is an outcome of this World Leaders Dialogue on Suicide Prevention for First Nations people and is being presented to the hosts and partnering bodies of the WCPH, with the expectation that the actions are adopted into policy, and promoted by each organization.

@70th World Health Assembly

At the 70th World Health Assembly, the WFPHA was more present than ever in what has been a very active year. The WFPHA delivered four statements to the WHA.

Statement 13.1: Human Resources for Health and Implementation of the Outcomes of the United Nations' High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth


WFPHA intern, Adam Thorburn, delivered Statement 13.1 on the importance of students and young professionals in the workplace. The WFPHA has proved how much it values the engagement of young professionals. The Governing Council passed a resolution to create a dedicated position on its Council for a young professional to hold.

This statement encourages the WHO to engage young professionals, and see the numerous benefits that they bring to the workplace, such as energy, creativity, and new ideas.

Statement 13.4: Evaluation and Review of the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property


President Michael Moore introduced how the Global Charter for the Public's Health can be implemented through the lens of the Melbourne Demand for Action.

WFPHA strives and encourages others to fully apply the mechanisms available to government, industry, private enterprise, academia, and civil society to protect the public’s health, embrace prevention, and promote health and well-being.

Statement 16.2: The Role of the Health Sector in the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management Towards the 2020 Goal and Beyond

Susan Wilburn, member of the Environmental Health Working Group, delivered statement 16.2, and endorsed the WHO Road Map on chemicals which contributes to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in many areas including goal 3) health, 6) water and sanitation, and 12) chemicals and waste. WFPHA believes that the overall goal should focus on hazard reduction and aim at continuously improving the safety of chemicals, and not only managing hazardous chemicals safely.

Statement 17K: Strengthening Emergency and Essential Surgical Care and Anesthesia as a Component of Universal Health Coverage

This statement by the WFPHA Oral Health Working Group raised awareness that people in poor and marginalized communities, especially in low-income countries, may not be able to access or afford dental care which is provided to internationally acceptable standards of infection control. The WFPHA, therefore, urges for tax exemption for dental supplies and equipment for infection control and prevention.

Coalition of Partners Expert Meeting on Strengthening Public Health Capacities and Services in Europe

A two-day workshop for the Coalition of Partners Expert Meeting on Strengthening Public Health Capacities and Services in Europe was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, on the 30th-31st of January 2017.
The meeting, organised by the WHO European office, aimed to accelerate progress towards the implementation of the European Action Plan for Strengthening Public Health Capacities and Services by bringing together international public health community experts to discuss the formation of a coalition of partners to initiate the creation of a joint agenda for action. The World Federation of Public Health Associations, as represented by Prof Bettina Borisch and Dr. Marta Lomazzi, actively participated in the meeting and presented the Global Charter for the Public’s Health to colleagues during a dedicated breakfast meeting on the second day of the workshop. During the meeting, Prof Borisch and Dr. Lomazzi discussed the operationalisation of the Global Charter and how to set-up collaborations to help develop this project.


The agenda for action, with shared responsibility for its implementation, will be demand-driven by the Member States and will focus on enabling public health services through the support of human and financial resources, organisation, and public health legislation. The coalition and its agenda will aim to support these services and public reform in the Member States through the pooling of resources and expertise.


The Coalition of Partners developed a visual recording of their meeting and the agenda for action which addresses, 'which actions do we want to undertake together to support one another in strengthening public health services?'.

Letter to the Brazilian Government

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January 10th, 2017, the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA) wrote a letter to the Brazilian Government. The WFPHA, together with ABRASCO its Brazilian member, are urging the Government of Brazil to reconsider the PEC55 in regards to health and in particular to the consequences for the SUS.

On December 15th, the Brazilian Senate voted a proposal of an amendment to the constitution (PEC55) that foresees a linear restriction to all public expenses until 2036. The public expenses will follow the annual inflation rate. This holds true for all sectors of the state budget. The health and educational systems are fundamentals of our societies; that is why in Brazil the Sistema Unico de Saude (SUS) has been introduced in 1988 into the constitution. The SUS is meant to provide a Universal Health Coverage (UHC), a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal agreed upon by all UN member states, for all Brazilian citizens.

Putting health and education at the same level as other fields is not consistent with the wishes of the people and the needs of society. The approach foreseen in the amendment to the PEC55 will have disastrous consequences for Brazil as a whole country.

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