A delegation from the World Health Organization’s Regional Group discussed public health priorities with the Guam Legislature yesterday.
The WHO is conducting a Northern Pacific Health Promotion Leadership Workshop (ProLEAD) on island from Oct. 26 to 28 at the Westin Resort with around 40 delegates from Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau.
The conference is co-hosted by the Department of Public Health and Social Services.
Annette David, who serves as a WHO consultant and workshop facilitator, said this is the third ProLead Leadership training conducted on Guam. The purpose of the workshop is to empower the different islands and to hone their health communications, advocacy, prioritization and strategic thinking skills.
“ProLead recognizes that if we are to achieve our goals in health, we just don’t need the technical skills but we also need the leadership skills. Leadership is at all levels. We are talking about community leaders, political leaders, government and health leaders,” David said.
Prevention of disease
Dr. Jason Ligot, WHO health promotions consultant, said ProLead also focuses on the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). WHO, as a global organization, prioritizes four NCDs – cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic illnesses and cancer.
“Apart from it being a leadership exercise, the objective was to help the different island states focus on specific initiatives on NCD prevention and control and really working with them in developing these programs, building their own local capacity, bringing the different thoughts together and giving them resources,” Ligot said.
While NCDs are chronic issues in the community, according to Ligot, most health systems are designed to address acute problems, and resources are invested in treating the sick instead of prevention.
Maintaining a dialogue
The program also focuses on a dialogue and creating partnerships with the various sectors in the community, according to Ligot. “It is also about shifting the mindset of policymakers and the public health system to focus on preventive instead of curative services,” he said.
Senators who attended the informal dialogue yesterday shared some of their challenges in introducing health-related legislation.
According to Ligot, the organization emphasizes communications and public health advocacy – to be more strategic in communications. Reaching out to policymakers is one crucial component of the process.
“Policymakers are often at the receiving end of information. It is important for people working in public health to really understand – what is the political dynamics of decisions that impact them? How do legislators identify what their priorities are? What helps them make their decisions? That is kind of the spirit behind this dialogue,” he said, referring to the meeting with the senators yesterday.
Source: Google News : https://www.postguam.com/news/local/who-training-delegates-visit-legislature/article_2992890a-ba2b-11e7-b6c6-5b284c6a0ff2.html