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The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of strengthening health protection worldwide. To address this as a public health priority in Ireland, between December 2021 and October 2022 the first national Health Protection Strategy (2022–2027) for the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) was developed. We describe the approach taken to develop a first national health protection strategy for Ireland, and highlight the key lessons learned. Key steps in strategy formation included detailed stakeholder analysis, exploration of the context for the strategy and development of a comprehensive consultation plan. Two stakeholder consultation workshops were held. The first focused on defining strategic vision, aim and objectives, the second verified objectives and identified enablers. A subsequent e-consultation invited feedback from wider stakeholders. The published strategy outlines 10 strategic objectives and 11 enablers. Key lessons identified from the strategy development process include the importance of clear leadership and oversight, the value of identifying the context for change, ensuring adequate consultation planning, taking a multidisciplinary approach with strong stakeholder engagement and the need to maintain a strategic perspective. Lessons from our experience can support colleagues internationally to strategically set out their priorities for health protection beyond COVID-19.


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