International Health Regulations (IHR)

IHR News

The WHO quarterly bulletin on IHR implementation

What's new in IHR coordination and support

Fourth meeting of the IHR Review Committee

The assessment of the global response to the pandemic H1N1 is conducted by the International Health Regulations Review Committee, a committee of experts with a broad mix of scientific expertise and practical experience in public health. The members are some of the leading experts in the world in their respective fields. The fourth meeting of the Committee took place at WHO Headquarters in Geneva on 28 March 2011 to review the preview report. The final report of the Committee will be presented to the World Health Assembly in May 2011. The preliminary report and reports from the Committee's meetings can be found at the IHR web site, where the transcript of the press briefing with Dr Harvey Fineberg, Chair of IHR Review Committee held 28 March 2011 is available in print and audio files.

Meeting on IHR core capacities development and monitoring

The meeting on IHR core capacities and monitoring was held in Geneva, Switzerland, 29 March 2011 and brought together IHR regional focal points and HQ technical focal points supporting countries to meet the core capacity requirements by 2012. The objectives were to review current WHO activities to support countries to meet the requirements under each of the 13 core capacities -- legal issues, coordination, surveillance, response, preparedness, laboratory capacity, risk communication, human resources strengthening, ports, airports and ground crossings, radiological and nuclear events, chemical events, food safety, and animal health -- and identify priorities and activities that HQ should do to better support the regions to reach the requirements.

Japan earthquake and nuclear concerns: International coordination at points of entry

In addition to collaboration with the Japanese authorities, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and WPRO and its global network of experts, to support the response in Japan WHO HQ has set up a coordination group with international travel and transport organizations for matters specific to air transport and tourism. This group includes the Airport Council International (ACI), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Regular updates are posted on PAGnet, an internet-based network that brings together public health officials at points of entry and partners to coordinate public health activities at ports, airports and ground crossings, including those related to public health emergency preparedness and response affecting international travel and transport:

IHR course: Now accepting applications

The third IHR implementation course is now accepting applications. The objectives of the course are to strengthen critical human resources engaged to set-up and manage systems for securing global public health under the IHR implementation framework, and to develop communication capacities for efficient international collaboration. Since March 2010, the first and second courses have allowed 54 public health professionals from 39 countries improving their competencies in a variety of areas related to IHR implementation. These professionals mainly belong to national IHR focal points (NFP), but also to other related sectors. Each cohort of participants also includes WHO staff from country offices and regional offices. Overall, the participants have highly recognized the quality of the course and valued experience-sharing with professionals from various backgrounds and contexts. They are part of a network of professionals that share practical experience and solutions in the face of today’s public health challenges.

Risk communication meeting

The IHR working group for risk communication and capacity building held in Lyon, France, from 16 to 18 March 2011, brought together 30 participants from around the world representing WHO regional offices, Member States, UN agencies, regional bodies, academic institutions and NGOs. Given the deadline of 2012 for all countries to achieve their IHR core capacity obligations, the meeting used the data from the recent (2010) IHR core capacity self assessment questionnaire to set the stage for identifying efficient and effective strategies and plans for 2011-2012.

For further information:

Travel and transport: Informal consultation meeting on a strategic approach on human resources development and training to support IHR implementation at points of entry

The objective of this meeting held in Lyon, France, on 16 and 17 February 2011, was to discuss a strategic approach for human resources development and training to support IHR implementation at points of entry. Discussions focused on sharing best practice and lessons learned through global, regional and individual country experiences with PoE training, identifying priorities for implementation and proposals for the best way forward.

For further information:

Checklist and indicators for monitoring progress in the development of IHR core capacities in States Parties

The revised version of the IHR monitoring framework has been released and is available online. This reference document proposes a framework and processes for States Parties to monitor the development of their core capacities at the national, intermediate and local community/primary response:

International Travel and Health – 2011 edition

This annual publication explains how travellers can stay healthy, and provides WHO guidance on vaccinations, malaria chemoprophylaxis and treatment, personal protection against insects and other disease vectors, and safety in different environmental settings. It covers all the principal risks to travellers' health, both during their journeys and at their destinations. It describes all relevant infectious diseases, including their causative agents, modes of transmission, clinical features and geographical distribution, and provides details of prophylactic and preventive measures. This book is intended for the medical and public health professionals who advise travellers, but it is also a standard reference for travel agents, airlines and shipping companies - and for travellers themselves.

The content of the book as well as pdf and e-Book versions in English and French will be available on the WHO ITH web site ( as of mid April 2011.