23 November 2017
The World Health Organization has elevated the UP MS Department of Operational Medicine to the rank of WHO Collaborating Centre for Migration Health Training and Research. The new centre will play a significant part in the world organization’s migration health activities and will provide new opportunities for the faculty and the whole university. The formalization of the relationship is the result of years of joint work.
Dr. Piroska Östlin, director of the World Health Organization’s European Region Office Division of Policy and Governance for Health and Well-being and coordinator of the network of the WHO Collaborating Centres, handed over the solemn memorandum of the WHO Collaborating Centre to Dr. István Szilárd.
The collaborating centres play an important role in the WHO, helping the world organization’s work in certain subdivisions. ‘The collaborating centres are scientific institutions that do outstanding work in certain fields in connection with the development of health care or, in other words, public health, and can thus provide professional background for the WHO’ – Piroska Ostlin concluded briefly the role of collaborating centres.
There are about 300 such highly specialised centres in the European Region of the WHO, which includes 53 countries, and in Hungary there are altogether three including Pécs; in Budapest at the Semmelweis University and in Debrecen at the University of Debrecen. The geographical location is, however, not important in terms of the fact that the individual centres in their own fields play a part in the whole region, so the Pécs centre is going to have an important effect on the whole continent’s decisions in connection with migration health.
All these have serious precedents as the research group led by István Szilárd has engaged long before the 2015 migration crisis in the health care challenges and risks caused by migration, and played a key role in the development and launch of the first European migration health training – the multiannual successful cooperation is the basic condition of the formalization of the relationship in the form of the Collaborating Centre.
‘First, we continue the work we started in 2011 in the field of migration health, and our activities are broadening as well: for instance, this time we do not organize training only within the framework of the university but for the WHO European Region’s professionals as well, and the teaching material developed by us is prepared for the whole world organization. Secondly, we are expanding our migration health data gathering work conducted in a Hungarian relation to an international level as although there are separate databases, they are not aligned and connected on a European level, however, in the lack of this the effective organization of the health care service is impossible. Besides this we take part in the execution of the WHO Strategy and Action Plan for Refugee and Migrant Health, which was accepted last year’ – said Dr. István Szilárd about the centre’s future work.
The migration is, without doubt, the most important global phenomenon of the 21st century with social, economic, and health care challenges, in which the WHO has to play a serious part. ‘The access to health care is a fundamental human right and the world organization has to pay special attention to this in the case of the migrants as well. In addition, our important task is to provide factual pieces of information to the society in connection with the health care challenges and incidental risks regarding migration in order to so-called migrant-sensitive health care supply systems can come into existence.’ – the WHO executive director listed the things to be done.
The collaborating centre does not receive extra financial support from the world organization but the collaboration can have several advantages as the whole world opens up for the institutions due to the WHO. All this can result in prosperous international relations and recognition at the same time, which means new opportunities for the Pécs Medical School’s teachers, researchers and students. Besides this, as István Szilárd hopes, the enhanced international attention will bring very factual results very quickly because the English language postgraduate specialist training in migration health will be launched next February in Pécs, in which the experts of the WHO are planned to take part as well.
Department of Operational Medicine