On Friday 10 May 2019, Mater Dei Hospital and the WHO Collaborating Centre on Health Systems and Policies in Small States jointly organised a workshop to discuss the role of clinical & public health leaders in strengthening governance in small state health systems. The event was made possible through the support of the Ministry for Health and the World Health Organisation’s Regional Office for Europe, Biennial Cooperation Agreement 2018-2019.
The meeting was moderated by Dr Walter Busuttil, Medical Director at Mater Dei Hospital and Dr Natasha Azzopardi-Muscat, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Health Services Management at the University of Malta and joint head of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Health Systems and Policies in Small States
Health systems globally are facing serious challenges related to increasing demand associated with demographic change, growing health inequalities and changing lifestyles. This is accentuated by the shortage of health care workers and strain on public budgets. However, there are also opportunities related to innovation, personalised medicine and digital technology that can lead to health system transformation.
Small countries are often exposed to the impact of changing environmental factors more rapidly and more harshly than larger countries. Those which succeed tend to recognise the impact of the changing environment early on and use the assets associated with being small to bring about agile and complete transformation, thereby enabling resilience to be built into their systems.
Prof Walter Ricciardi, Head of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Health Leadership and Governance at the Catholic University of Rome delivered the opening keynote address. He emphasised the need for clinicians and public health professionals to work together to render health systems capable of overcoming the myriad challenges they are facing worldwide. The workshop was also address by Dr Francesco Zambon WHO, Prof Lino Briguglio ISSI, Dr Kenneth Grech, Dr Beatrice Farrugia and Mr Gordon Caruana Dingli.
Clinical and public health leaders have an important role to play in shaping and implementing health strategies together to ensure that the Maltese population achieves health & well-being for all. The purpose of the capacity building events was to empower clinical and public health leaders to advocate for and contribute to the strengthening of health system governance at all levels as a means to ensure the successful development and implementation of the forthcoming national health strategy.