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

Early detection, assessment and response to acute public health events: Implementation of Early Warning and Response with a focus on Event-Based Surveillance

The goal of this document is to provide national health authorities, and stakeholders supporting them, with guidance for implementing or enhancing all-hazards early warning and response mechanisms within national surveillance systems. It aims to provide direction regarding the implementation of surveillance capacities, especially event-based surveillance, in order to detect and to respond rapidly to all acute health events and risks from any origin.

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.

  • 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).