International Health Regulations (IHR)

IHR Committees


2 May 2017 - The thirteenth meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) regarding the international spread of poliovirus was convened via teleconference by the Director General on 24 April 2017.

International Health Regulations (2005)
Third edition

The 3rd edition of the International Health Regulations (2005) is now available. This edition includes the text of World Health Assembly resolution WHA58.3, the amended version of Annex 7 concerning period of protection of vaccination against yellow fever, and validity of related certificates that entered into force on 11 July 2016, the Health Part of the Aircraft General Declaration that entered into force on 15 July 2007, and appendices containing an updated list of States Parties and State Party reservations and other communications in connection with the IHR (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.

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.


Interactive session during the first IHR implementation course.

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


  • April 2017

    A strategic framework for emergency preparedness

    The Strategic Framework for Emergency Preparedness is a unifying framework which identifies the principles and elements of effective country health emergency preparedness. It adopts the major lessons of previous initiatives and lays out the planning and implementation process by which countries can determine their priorities and develop or strengthen their operational capacities. Read more

  • March 2017

    Why quality management matters in health laboratories

    Universal access to high quality health laboratories is essential for strong health systems and crucial for improving public health. A quality management system is needed to control, assure and manage the quality of laboratory services. In this video, laboratory professionals share their experience and advice on the importance of quality. To guide laboratories implementing quality management, WHO published the Laboratory Quality Stepwise Implementation (LQSI) tool.

    For more information about the Laboratory Quality Stepwise Implementation (LQSI) tool:

  • September 2016

    Antimicrobial susceptibility testing using the EUCAST method

    WHO has supported the production of a set of videos on how to perform antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) using EUCAST recommended methods and interpretation. During 2016, five videos have been completed and 5 more are under construction. Read more

  • 27-29 June 2016
    Bali, Indonesia

    High-level stakeholders meeting on advancing global health security

    WHO, Headquarters and the WHO Regional Office for South East Asia convened a High-level Stakeholders Meeting on Advancing Global Health Security from 27 to 29 June 2016 in Bali, Indonesia. Read more

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).