The memorandum captures the commitment of the organizations to work together to achieve their common aim: to improve the lives of the most vulnerable and reduce or eliminate avoidable inequities in health conditions. This will be achieved through increasing universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support services.

The signing ceremony took place at the 69th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe. The organizations agreed to jointly support countries to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieve the health-related Sustainable Development Goals, in line with the public health agenda of the countries of the WHO European Region, the IFRC’s Strategy 2020 and WHO’s 13th General Programme of Work.

Mr Jagan Chapagain, Under Secretary General of the IFRC, and Dr Piroska Östlin, acting WHO Regional Director for Europe and Director of the Division of Policy and Governance for Health and Well-being at WHO/Europe, jointly signed the memorandum. It provides a framework for supporting countries in the Region to achieve universal health coverage through the coordinated efforts of ministries of health, the IFRC, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and WHO/Europe, including WHO country offices.

Through the memorandum, the 2 organizations will increase and mainstream collaboration in the following areas: universal health coverage with a focus on community health; health emergencies; the promotion of healthy lifestyles and noncommunicable disease prevention throughout the life course; and voluntary blood donor recruitment.

Finally, the memorandum seeks to enhance and support co-operation among ministries of health, WHO/Europe, and National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and to increase synergies by tapping into each other’s comparative advantages in promoting the health agenda in the Region.