Senior Welsh health experts, including Welsh Government Health Minister Mark Drakeford, met this week with international health protection specialists at the Celtic Manor Resort to discuss ways to improve the global response to public health emergencies.
The high-level expert group meeting was organised by the Inter Action Council, a think tank of former world leaders.
The New Realities for Global Health Security meeting, which was chaired by former Taoiseach of Ireland Bertie Ahern, brought together experts from around the world to consider strategies to ensure global health security.
Welsh representatives at the event included senior executives from Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and The Learned Society of Wales.
Speaking of the meeting, Bertie Ahern said: “We are pleased to return to Wales after a very successful Annual Plenary Meeting last year. The Council is committed to facilitating conversations that can help protect the global community from those illnesses and diseases that pose the greatest health risk. The discussions at this week’s meeting will go some way to informing our responses to future health emergencies.”
This is the second time Wales has hosted the InterAction Council, which was set up in 1983 as an independent organisation bringing together former heads of state to tackle global humanitarian issues. The Council, whose members include ex-president of the United States Bill Clinton, held its annual conference at the Newport resort last year.
Topics under discussion at the meeting included the World Health Organisation Review of International Health Regulations and a proposal to create a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future. Delegates also considered last year’s Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) legislation with a view to drafting a Public Health Wales Pathfinder to Global Health.
Council members will use the proposals discussed at the meeting to prepare a report for the organisation’s forthcoming annual conference next month in Azerbaijan.
John Wyn Owen, Treasurer of The Learned Society of Wales, said: “The global health protection agenda is forever evolving as new health risks emerge from the changing global circumstances. Careful preparation is paramount to protecting global populations against these risks and the Inter Action Council is at the forefront of shaping our response. We are delighted to be part of these conversations and are honoured that the Council has again returned to Wales for its discussions.”
About the Inter Action Council
Established in 1983, the InterAction Council is an international organization whose objective is to address long-term, global issues facing humankind. Co-Chaired by the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister of Canada, 1993-2003) and H.E. Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo (President of Nigeria, 1999-2007), the Council’s membership is comprised of more than forty former heads of state who volunteer their time to develop proposals for action and submit them directly to national and international decision-makers. (http://www.interactioncouncil.org/)
About The Learned Society of Wales
The Learned Society of Wales (LSW) is Wales’s first national Academy promoting a culture of knowledge and innovation through sponsorship and organising of lectures, symposia, and conferences. Unlike other UK learned societies the Fellowship covers a wide range of disciplines – science & technology, arts, humanities, social science, business and public service. The Society is a recognised representative of the world of Welsh learning internationally and a source of authoritative, scholarly and critical comment and advice on policy issues affecting Wales.
As Wales’s national academy, the LSW undertakes a number of activities and initiatives to accomplish this mission including electing distinguished fellows, bestowing awards, organising and hosting symposia and meetings, and more generally promoting public intellectual life in Wales. Increasingly, the Society has become a source of expert comment on major issues relevant to Welsh public life. In recognition of this value, the Society has now secured support from most Welsh Universities and has begun productive engagement with the Welsh Government and with other UK and European national academies. In 2015, the Society secured its Royal Charter and recently established two new medal prizes, recognise women in Sciences Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (and early career researchers (https://www.learnedsociety.wales/)
About Public Health Wales
Public Health Wales is an NHS organisation providing professionally independent public health advice and services to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of the population of Wales.
Public Health Wales has four statutory functions:
- To provide and manage a range of public health, health protection, healthcare improvement, health advisory, child protection and microbiological laboratory services and services relating to the surveillance, prevention and control of communicable diseases;
- To develop and maintain arrangements for making information about matters related to the protection and improvement of health in Wales available to the public; to undertake and commission research into such matters and to contribute to the provision and development of training in such matters;
- To undertake the systematic collection, analysis and dissemination of information about the health of the people of Wales in particular including cancer incidence, mortality and survival; and prevalence of congenital anomalies; and
- To provide, manage, monitor, evaluate and conduct research into screening of health conditions and screening of health related matters.