by H.E. Dr. Daniela Bartos, the Minister of Health and Family

at the 56th World Health Assembly

World Health Organization

(Geneva, May 19, 2003)

Mr. Chairman,
Madam Director General,
Assembly members,

It is my great pleasure to address the message of our delegation to the 56th World Health Assembly. In the short time available to me, I would like to present the position and the progress of Romania on several health issues regarding child health.

First, we appreciate the efforts of World Health Organisation in the direction of improving in each country national and global health issues, mainly those addressed to poor and disadvantaged populations. In this context the Romanian Government Programme of June 2001 recognises the health and well being of all the children as a priority. The Ministry of Health and Family is duly committed to promote, protect and improve the health and nutrition status for children, youth and women, thus reducing the health related causes of institutionalisation of children, and creating conditions for all children to grow up in a healthy environment.

Subsequent to this national goal there are several objectives :

  • To improve or maintain the quality and access to curative and preventive health services, including perinatal care within the health reform process, to make them increasingly women and child friendly and family-centred ;
  • To improve the nutritional status of children, youth and women;
  • To strengthen the capacity of health system to monitor the health status of the population and to promote the principles of good nutrition ;
  • To improve or maintain reproductive health-related risks in adolescents and youth (aged 15-25), and reduce incidence of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections by empowering young people to make informed decisions and supporting their ability to act upon their decisions ;
  • To support youth to adopt healthy life styles in areas of nutrition, smoking, alcohol and other substance abuses.

In order to address all these problems Romania has taken a number of steps. These steps are covering several areas.

The policy area

The child health is the object of several national programmes among which the most important are:

  • The National Programme for Child and Family Health that reflects the special concern of the Romanian Ministry of Health and Family on reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. Among the provisions of this Programme is the free access to healthcare services and drugs for all children and youngsters under 18 years old.
  • Another cornerstone Programme is the National Immunisation Programme.
  • Also the national the National Programme for Surveillance, Control and Prevention of HIV/AIDS even if not a specific child health intervention, has an important number of provisions for children, adolescents and youth.
  • Last but not least there is the National Programme of Health Surveillance in children and adolescent communities.

The prevention and service delivery area

The Ministry of Health and Family is currently addressing a range of nutritional issues affecting the health of women and children like iron supplementation and monitoring the universal salt iodination. A great effort is being done for the rehabilitation of maternity hospitals and wards. The first steps (need assessment and grading) came to the end. We have now a clear picture of what is ahead and we are in the middle of a planning process that will address in a holistic approach all the aspects of healthcare of mothers and babies.

It has been re-launched the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative and breastfeeding Promotion, the existing Baby Friendly Hospitals are under the re-evaluation process and others will soon be evaluated in order to be designated. Also a National Strategy for Breastfeeding Promotion is under development and will be soon issued. Romania is part of the international efforts regarding the improvement of health of the child engulfed in the Integrated Management of Child Diseases and Making Pregnancy Safer WHO/UNICEF programs.

Improving the quality of health services and Healthcare professionals training

We shall focus on developing health protocols, training primary healthcare staff, strengthening the national and local level health promotion capacity, implementing projects for improving care in target areas (including services for children and youth).

Establishing solid partnerships with various national and international agencies acting as implementers and donors

The Ministry of Health and Family:

  • Is committed to develop a national comprehensive and unitary Child Health Strategy;
  • Will continue to identify new sources of funding in order to expand the health programmes for children;
  • Will continue the reform and will seek for creative solutions regarding a more active community involvement.

All elements presented today, together with other concerns of our country related to child's health are part of the Romanian efforts done in the process of integration to the European Union. In this context, we appreciate the steps accomplished together by WHO and EU institutions, in order to contribute to the improvement of the overall health status of the population.

I would like to conclude by assuring you that Romania would continue to support and participate to the WHO efforts aiming to advance child's health at global level and will implement specific strategic directions at national level.

Thank you for your attention.

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