The International Association of National Public Health Institutes, IANPHI, held its first Regional Leadership Meeting in early April in Johannesburg, South Africa at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).
Participating delegates represented 11 African countries (Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia), including member national public health institutes and prospective member institutes, as well as WHO/AFRO (the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa) and AFENET (the African Field Epidemiology Network).
Formally launched in 2006 and housed in joint Secretariats at Emory University and Finland's National Institute of Public Health (KTL), IANPHI links more than 54 national public health institutes (NPHIs) worldwide with a goal of strengthening national public health systems through infrastructure and human resources development and advocacy.
"This regional leadership meeting was an inaugural event of great importance to IANPHI," says Jeffrey P. Koplan, MD, MPH, president of IANPHI, director of the Emory Global Health Institute and former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "The hallmark of IANPHI is its peer-to-peer approach, creating the opportunity to share solutions among colleagues from geographically and linguistically similar locations who are struggling with similar issues related to the leadership and management of their institutes."
The meeting focused on leadership and management development, strategic planning and conflict resolution, with an emphasis on personal interchange and discussion of current and planned projects in represented countries.
NPHIs are science-based organizations that coordinate national public health systems. Their functions often include disease monitoring and evaluation, outbreak investigation, laboratory science, training and research. IANPHI, through Emory University's Global Health Institute, is funding several projects to strengthen public health systems through NPHIs in the region. Under its long-term systems-strengthening project, IANPHI is working with other collaborators such as FIOCRUZ in Brazil to fund new NPHIs in Ethiopia, Malawi, Guinea Bissau and elsewhere.