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

IHR Committees


2 September 2016 -- The fourth meeting of the Emergency Committee on Zika and microcephaly convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) regarding microcephaly, other neurological disorders and Zika virus was on 1 September 2016. The Committee agreed that Zika virus infection and its associated congenital and other neurological disorders continues to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

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


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).