EHMA at the WHO Primary Care Advisory Group in Almaty, Kazakstan – June 2017

19 July 2017


EHMA plays a number of roles in supporting its Members and Member Organisations, one of which is the contribution it makes to European health policy and practice through its membership of international bodies such as the European Commission and the World Health Organisation.

The WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care is based in Almaty, Kazakstan, was established in 2013 to focus on four core pillars: Knowledge Synthesis; Country Support; Policy Analysis and Alliances and networking. The WHO Primary Care Advisory Group was established in 2016 to support the work of the ECPHC and held its first meeting in June 2017. The 20 Members of the PHC-AG which includes the European Health Management Association has been established to share perspectives, experiences and expertise for evidence-based policy advice with an initial focus being on the renewal of the primary health care principles, first established at the 1978 Declaration of Alma-Ata.

Membership of the PHC-AC includes representatives from organisations that range from Imperial College to the Association of Doctors. The European Health Management Association is one of only a small number of NGOs invited to join this influential group and as your Director I am keen to ensure that the EHMA Membership are kept informed and involved in its work.

Our first meeting held over two days in June of this year in Almaty, Kazakstan was built around thematic presentations and discussions on primary care, which will be written up to form context for changes to the WHOs vision for primary care as well as the guidelines to help shape its work programme. During such discussions, I sought to ensure that the views of EHMA were reflected and considered. I made a number of interventions that highlighted the need to ensure that the connection between teaching, training and health management was valued and I also stressed that EHMA believed that there is an increasing gap between health system policy and health system delivery and as such that there is a need for organisations such as the WHO to further strengthen their Knowledge Synthesis and Country Support activities.

My own reflections on the tone and focus of the discussion was that the commitment to the principles of primary care remained very strong, but that there was a recognition that change drivers were moving and that primary care was finding it difficult to make its voice heard in a resource constrained and increasingly complex environment. Yet there was a common view that primary care remains the anchor point for a population health focussed approach and that increased efforts need to be made to ensure that the value of primary care is recognised by politicians and that effective practice is delivered.

The PHC-AG is scheduled to meet twice a year and I will seek to ensure that the views of EHMA Members are fully reflected in the work that I undertake, with this process led by the EHMA Primary Care Special Interest Group, chaired by Dr Antoni Peris.

Please do take the opportunity to visit the website of the European Centre and forward the Secretariat any thoughts or reflections that you would like to see included in forthcoming discussions. I will continue to keep you updated on the work of the PHC-AG as we build towards the 40th Anniversary of the signing of the Alma-Ata Declaration in 2018.

Usman Khan, EHMA Interim Director


Members of the WHO Primary Care Advisory Group

  • Yelzhan Birtanov, Minister – Ministry of Health of Kazakhstan
  • Masoud Dara, Coordinator – World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe
  • Jan De Maeseneer, Chairman – European Forum for Primary Care
  • Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive – Nuffield Trust
  • Jill Farrington, Coordinator – World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe
  • Ian Forde, Senior Policy Analyst – Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Pascal Garel, Chief Executive – European Hospitals and Healthcare Federation
  • Nick Goodwin, Chief Executive Officer – The International Foundation for Integrated Care
  • Usman Khan, Director – European Health Management Association
  • Hernan Julio Montenegro von Mühlenbrock, Coordinator- World Health Organization
  • Salman Rawaf, Director – World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Public Health Education and Training
  • Valentina Sarkisova, Chair – European Forum of National Nursing and Midwifery Associations
  • Anna Stavdal, President – World Organization of Family Doctors Europe


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I have been active in EHMA since the first years of the '90s and I have seen its evolution from a small association of members interested in sharing knowledge on health management practices to the current status of reference and advisory key player for EU, health systems and organisations, stakeholders associations, industry and universities. EHMA is now a unique knowledge hub, policy advisor, community of practice and network of best in class organisations involved in health policy and management. A place where health managers can build their competences, policy-makers and stakeholder associations envision how to implement and sustain change through health management, industry leaders understand how to engage more effectively with health organisations and systems. The right place to nurture and grow health management capabilities and capacity for every stakeholder of health systems.

Prof. Federico Lega, University of Milan, Italy

Health management has a crucial function in shaping public health and health system challenges. The Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria had success in collaborating with EHMA on EU-funded projects that has resourced us to create new health management competencies for the future workforce. In addition to all classical definitions, health management is a science dealing with individuals, groups, and society at large. It is an art contributing to the beauty of our lives and an interactive communication process at all levels of institutions and human energy. I have also had the pleasure to chair the South Eastern European Special Interest Group which gives members a space to discuss and tools to address how health systems are managed in our regions.

Prof. Todorka Kostadinova, Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria

I enjoy the high level of interaction and engagement in EHMA’s activities, in particular during the annual conference where the panel discussions are rich and well prepared. As a hospital manager and professor of health management, EHMA motivates and inspires me to be creative. You go back home feeling energised from seeing old friends and making new connections, as well as being convinced of serving as EHMA’s ambassador. It’s a strong feeling of interdisciplinary engagement, but it also feels like being part of family-like community.

Prof. Sandra C. Buttigieg, University of Malta, Malta

EHMA is a pre-eminent organisation for everyone working in planning, managing and delivering health services across Europe. As a long standing member of EHMA I have always been impressed by the vibrant community of managers, researchers and academics it has created and by the many opportunities for sharing knowledge and funding opportunities it has brought to its members. Its international scope is impressive and its impact is often felt in management and research across European and national health systems.

Prof. Axel Kaehne, Edge Hill University, UK

Health workforce has become more essential in operating, managing and maintaining health systems lately, particularly in crisis and emergency situations. European healthcare professions and the workforce need to be high on the agenda of managers and decision makers. The Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University in Hungary is a longstanding EHMA member, because it connects us with collaborators and experts, with whom we can have complex debates, from whom we can learn and at the end find solutions in various challenging fields of healthcare management.

Dr Eszter Kovács, Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University, Hungary

As a hospital administrator and health management professor, I see on a daily basis that the healthcare challenges require talented and skilled managers to transform it. the EHMA membership has been beneficial to bring healthcare management research and education to the demanding healthcare services world, promoting healthcare management competencies and knowledge creation.

Dr Alexandre Lourenco, APAH - Association of Portuguese Hospital Managers, Portugal

Many healthcare systems in Europe and beyond are facing similar challenges which require innovative and creative solutions. EHMA’s annual conference, webinars, Programme Directors’ group and other activities and resources provide incredible opportunities for networking, connecting and sharing experiences. A distinct feature of EHMA is the diversity of members with representation from many countries, sectors and different communities of practice – academic, policy-makers, practitioners, managers, leaders and students. The annual conference is a highlight in the calendar year, offering a friendly, fun and learningful environment for emerging and established members to engage, collaborate and meet up with old and new friends. I am proud to be a member of the EHMA Board.

Prof. Ann Mahon, University of Manchester, UK

Society evolution, pandemics and ageing modify health needs. So, health policies and services are to change dramatically. EHMA, through webinars, workshops and annual conference provides an excellent insight to a professional changing world, favouring closeness to management innovation and the protagonists of these changes. As a primary care services’ manager, participating in EHMA activities is really worth it and allows to involve oneself in the innovation processes.

Dr Antoni Peris Grao, Consorci Castelldefels Agents de Salut (CASAP), Spain