Alert, response, and capacity building under the International Health Regulations (IHR)

About WHO Department of Global Capacities Alert and Response (GCR)

International Health Regulations implementation

Plans, Exercises and Monitoring

With the coming into force of the revised International Health Regulations (IHR) on June 15, 2007, Member States are required to assess core alert and response capacities, develop a plan of action for implementing the revised IHR, and to monitor and evaluate progress towards achieving these capacities. WHO is mandated to provide the appropriate tools, guidance and support to Member States to achieve these goals with a number of guidelines and tools identified to support countries to meet the minimum standards for public health preparedness.

In the two years following the entry into force of the IHR in 2007, the WHO secretariat provided States Parties with a questionnaire developed for the purpose of facilitating their reporting of implementation process to the World Health Assembly. Starting from 2010, a more detailed and technical questionnaire was used that examines a more complete range of capacities relevant under the IHR and addressing the expanded scope of the IHR.

The data collected from States Parties are analysed, the results of which have been produced into Country Profiles, Regional Profiles and NFP Report, and shared with States Parties to guide the development and strengthening of IHR core capacities. The analytical results of the aggregated data have also been presented to the WHA and relevant WHO regional offices. In order to facilitate data collection process, a webbased data collection tools has been developed, whereby States Parties could submit data on-line, and generate outputs (country reports with charts, tables etc.) after data submission.

The initial deadline established in the IHR for States Parties to have established national core capacities ensuring public health surveillance and response throughout their territory and public health capacity at designated Points of Entry was 15 June 2012. So far, 106 Member States have requested and received a two-year extension with a plan to meet core capacity requirements by 2014. WHO is expected to continue its support to Member States in identifying and addressing gaps in IHR core capacities development.

Many countries are facing difficulties in fulfilling core capacity requirements of the IHR (2005), and are in the process of requesting an extension to the June 2012 deadline for achieving IHR core capacities. There is an increasing demand for guidance and support to identify gaps in IHR core capacities, take actions accordingly and monitor progress in meeting IHR core capacity requirements.