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WHO visit accelerates global health and safety programme

26 June 2023

SENIOR SPECIALISTS from the World Health Organization (WHO) visited IOSH to focus on developing a programme collaborative work which will enhance global workplace health and safety standards.

Dr Ivan Ivanov, team leader of WHO’s Global Occupational Health Programme, and Dr Dorothy Amaleck Ngajilo, WHO global programme consultant, met with IOSH’s chief executive Vanessa Harwood-Whitcher and some of her colleagues this month.

The two organisations have been working together for a number of years and signed a memorandum of understanding in October last year to formalise their collaboration. Last week’s visit was an opportunity to deepen the engagement in key areas they are jointly focus on.

This included:

  • Strengthening countries’ capacities to safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of health workers. Together with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), IOSH and WHO are in discussions to develop an online OSH awareness course for focal points at health facilities globally. The training will help the focal points be better able to identify and respond to risks, and be advocates for safety, health and wellbeing of their colleagues at health institutions.
  • Promoting strategies for safer, healthier and more resilient workplaces for all. IOSH is supporting WHO in developing a global framework on safer, healthier and more resilient workplaces for all, providing advice and practice and thought leadership and organising joint roundtable sessions and webinars.
  • Developing practical tools for addressing priority occupational risks. Building on IOSH’s global awareness campaign on occupational cancer, No Time To Lose, IOSH and WHO are joining forces to promote awareness of other priority occupational risks, in particular on occupational cancers and non-respiratory diseases.

In addition to the meeting at The Grange, IOSH and WHO also had a separate meeting in London with the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Health Team. The three organisations looked into ways of strengthening collaboration on promoting occupational safety, health and wellbeing for health workers in the 56 member countries of the Commonwealth. 

IOSH has been an Accredited Organisation to the Commonwealth since 2020, and in collaboration with both organisations, it hopes to make the most impact in supporting the safety, health and wellbeing of health workers across the Commonwealth, especially in small and developing countries.