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Duncan Selbie's Friday message - 12 April 2019

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Dear everyone

First, a warm welcome to our new minister for public health and primary care, Seema Kennedy MP who replaces Steve Brine MP who led the public health system with great distinction over the past three years. We look forward to working with her.

I started this week in Moldova, the poorest country in Europe with a population of 4 million, of which 8% live below the international poverty line of 1.7 Euro per day but with big ambitions to improve on this and thereby the health and wellbeing of their people. Moldova was hosting the annual European meeting of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes, where despite differences in history and scale, we face many of the same challenges and by sharing our experiences, data and expertise, we can learn and help each other. IANPHI is a force for great good in furthering global health security, and in strengthening the world’s public health institutes and agencies, and it is a pleasure and honour to play our full part in this as we work to keep the UK safe and well from threats at home and overseas.

England has exceeded the World Health Organisation’s target to reduce hepatitis C related mortality by 10% by 2020. Deaths from serious hepatitis C related liver disease fell from 380 to 319 between 2015 and 2017 with greater access to curative treatment likely to be the main factor. This is also linked to a reduction in the number of people with the disease requiring liver transplants due to hepatitis C, with registrations for transplants falling to a 10-year low. This is fantastic news and is testament to the hard work of many from PHE, the NHS and third sector. Challenges still remain as we work towards the WHO target of eliminating hepatitis C by 2030. Our news story has more detail.

This week 400 delegates from around the world gathered in Manchester for PHE’s third Public Health Research and Science Conference. This event brought together scientific expertise from across the public health community to discuss everything from chlamydia to climate change to calories including celebrating five years of successful translational research and impact by the NIHR Health Protection Research Units. This annual conference is an important forum for nurturing collaboration across the different interests that comprise public health practice, service and academia. It is also about encouraging young scientists, including PHE colleagues to enhance their careers by participating in public health research. My warm thanks go to all those who contributed to the discussions, thinking and learning.

Working with Health Education England, PHE has refreshed the All Our Health framework and developed a series of e-learning modules for all health and care professionals, providing bite-size introductions to various public health topics and signposting them to evidence on what works, further guidance and support. You can learn more about these new resources by reading our latest blog.

And finally, next week I will be on holiday with my family, so the next message will be on Friday 26 April.

Friday messages from 2012-2018 are available on GOV.UK

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