Strengthening health security by implementing the International Health Regulations (2005)

Core functions of the IHR

<b>Prevent<b/><br />Build capacity in countries to minimize disease and prevent the escalation of public health emergencies.<br /><br /><b>Detect<b/><br />Gather and analyze public health data to rapidly detect health security risks as they develop.<br /><br /><b>Inform<b/><br />Keep stakeholders informed with essential facts about public health events that affect them, and report public health risks to WHO.<br /><br /><b>Respond<b/><br />Protect public health by responding with actions and resources where and when they are needed.<br /><br /><b>Facilitate<b/><br />Coordinate WHO's work with partners so that together we can help countries build capacity for health security.
The IHR help countries to prevent, detect, inform about and respond to public health events in a facilitated manner.

In today’s connected world, health security is a global issue. We must all protect ourselves, and each other, from threats like infectious diseases, chemical and radiological events.

That is why 196 countries have agreed to work together to prevent and respond to public health crises. The agreement is called the International Health Regulations, or IHR (2005), and WHO plays the coordinating role.

Through the IHR, WHO keeps countries informed about public health risks, and works with partners to help countries build capacity to detect, report and respond to public health events.

IHR Emergency Committees

The Emergency Committee is made up of international experts to provide technical advice to the WHO Director-General in the context of a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC). Depending on the circumstances, the Emergency Committee may advise on whether or not a PHEIC is occurring . If the Director-General determines that the event constitutes a PHEIC, the Emergency Committee will then provide advice on appropriate Temporary Recommendations of health measures to be implemented by States Parties. As a PHEIC proceeds, the Emergency Committee continues to provide advice to the Director-General.

Latest guidance

Handbook for the assessment of capacities at the human-animal interface

This Handbook was developed by WHO and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to facilitate the assessment of public health capacities in countries for areas in which veterinary services contribute to the implementation of the IHR (2005). It highlights complementarities between the WHO IHR Monitoring Tool and the Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) Pathway, and aims at facilitating annual reporting on country compliance with IHR (2005) requirements by using the results of the PVS Pathway missions. Through this process, it also endeavours to highlight the importance of the collaboration between the human and animal health sectors.

Learning

Strengthening the competencies, including the knowledge and skills, of public health personnel is critical to the sustainment of public health surveillance and response at all levels of the health system and the effective implementation of the IHR.

WHO provides leadership and contributes to building the capacity of public health professionals working on the implementation of the IHR; it has fostered the development and offers a variety of learning solutions, including training activities, materials and tools, tailored to specific needs of public health workers and partner institutions.

In focus

Highlights

  • 13-15 July 2015

    Building Health Security Beyond Ebola High level partners meeting

    This meeting brought together the key national, regional and international stakeholders to establish a common framework of action in order to support, coordinate and intensify the strategic development and maintenance of health security preparedness.

  • 3 July 2015

    Development, monitoring and evaluation of functional core capacity for implementing the IHR (2005): Concept note

    To better support States Parties in measuring their public health capacities and further to the recommendations of the IHR Review Committee that WHO consider a variety of approaches for the shorter- and longer-term assessment and development of IHR core capacities, a concept note exploring options for the way forward has been developed. Its purpose is to facilitate discussions between States Parties and the WHO Regional Committees and proposes options for their consideration.

  • 24 June 2015

    Laboratory Assessment Tool user survey now online!

    After 3 years in use, the Health Laboratory Strengthening Team is conducting a review to determine how the tool has been used and learn from users what are its strengths and weaknesses. This review will serve as the basis for a potential revision of the tool and publication of an improved version.


IHR national capacities

All States Parties are required to have or to develop minimum core public health capacities to implement the IHR (2005) effective in accordance with articles 5 and 13 of the IHR (2005).