WHO and Ministry of Health and Medical Education unveil joint strategies on environmental and occupational health – Iran (Islamic Republic of)

22 December 2022 – The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, the WHO Country Office, the UN Resident Coordinator and the Ministry of Health and Medical Education of the Islamic Republic of Iran convened to unveil joint strategic priorities in environmental and occupational health.

This event, held on 29 November, was the culmination of a visit of an Iranian mission to the WHO Regional Center for Environmental Health Action. The purpose of this mission, headed by Dr. Jafar Jandaghi, the Director-General of the Center of Environmental and Occupational Health, was to discuss environmental and occupational health and share the country’s experiences, including during COVID-19, with the regional officials. In addition, the participants explored avenues for further collaboration with relevant UN agencies, such as the International Labor Organization.

Dr Hossein Farshidi, the Deputy Minister of Health and Medical Education, opened the event by delivering the message of the Minister of Health and Medical Education HE Dr Einollahi. The message reiterated that environmental and occupational health was among the priorities of the Ministry towards building a healthier and more resilient community. Mr Stefan Priesner, the UN Resident Coordinator, spoke about how the goals and pillars of the United Nations Sustainable Development Framework could provide opportunities for multisectoral collaboration.

Mr Mazen Malkawi, the Regional Advisor on Air Pollution and Chemical Safety, presented the Region’s vision for environmental and occupational health. His speech was followed by that of Dr. Jandaghi, who presented the situation, strategies, programs, challenges and joint priorities in the 7 areas of climate change and health.

“This initiative is timely, following COP27 and the 69th session of the Regional Committee, both of which had emphasized the importance of actions towards health and environment, including climate change,” pointed out Dr Syed Jaffar Hussain, WHO Representative to the Islamic Republic of Iran. He also mentioned that the UNSDCF document, signed by UN agencies and governmental bodies, included an environment and climate change pillar, which is an official platform paving the way for implementation of the joint strategies of WHO and the Ministry of Health and Medical Education.

In his closing remarks Dr Farshidi emphasized the commitment of the Ministry to intersectoral collaboration towards the implementation of the joint strategies on environmental and occupational health.