The WHO quarterly bulletin on IHR implementation
What's new in the WHO regions
AFRO: Infectious substances shipping training in Ghana and WHO biorisk management training
An infectious substances shipping (ISS) workshop and WHO biorisk management (BRM) training were held in Ghana, from 20 to 24 June, bringing together 35 participants from 13 Anglophone countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The objective of the ISS workshop is to train and certify shippers of infectious substances against applicable international transport regulations. The course covers the following topics: introduction to transport of infectious substances, shipping terms, categorization, packaging, marking and labelling, documentation and refrigeration. It is recognized by the air transport authority International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The infectious substances shippers workshop course was offered in collaboration with the European Union under the scope of the WHO/EU programme to strengthen biosafety and laboratory biosecurity and the WHO Regional Office for Africa. It is offered in English. The BRM training introduces the new concept of biorisk management, which combines risk assessment, risk mitigation, and performance systems. The workshop is intended to increase awareness and implementation of biorisk management globally through interactive sessions and practicals.
For further information on the above trainings: firstname.lastname@example.org
EURO: Response to E. coli outbreak
Since the start of the outbreak of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) and enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) in Germany in mid-May, a total of 3920 HUS and EHEC cases have been reported in 16 countries, including 48 fatalities. As of 17 June, the number of cases has declined significantly. Nevertheless, WHO continues to work closely with national health authorities and international partners, providing technical assistance and the latest information on the outbreak.
EURO: Consultation on national microbiology programme for external quality assessment programme (EQA) in Turkey
A consultation on the establishment of a national clinical microbiology external quality assessment programme in Turkey was held in Ankara, Turkey, 16–18 May 2011. National external quality assessment schemes (NEQAS) represent one of the essential components of every national laboratory quality system. Regular and successful participation of clinical and public health laboratories in NEQAS is critical to ensure that these laboratories provide reliable results. Access to EQA schemes is one of the indicators proposed by WHO to its Member States to monitor the implementation of International Health Regulations core capacities for surveillance and response. Despite of the many laboratory capacity enhancement initiatives undertaken these past years, and the existence of quality control initiatives for specific diseases diagnostic, the Turkish national health authorities have not started to organize a National External Quality Assessment Scheme for the benefit of public or even private clinical and public health laboratories. The Turkish Ministry of Health requested WHO assistance to organize a national workshop aiming at setting up a microbiology NEQAS at the Refik Saydam National Public Health Agency (RSNPHA), through the identification of international experts and workshop facilitation. The consultation gathered representatives from Turkish health authorities, universities, private and public laboratories. Participants made recommendations to the RSNPHA for a successful start of such a programme. Next steps include setting up a national advisory board, the consultation of future participating laboratories to better define the EQA programme scope, policy and procedures, the training of key EQA unit staff at RNSPHA as well as conducting pilot surveys and starting to build the quality manual of the EQA unit.
EURO: Public health emergency response exercise at ports, airports and ground crossings, Spain
As part of its ongoing work towards reinforcing core capacities for public health emergency preparedness and response at points of entry, WHO, in collaboration with the Spanish Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equality, carried out a public health emergency exercise in Madrid, Spain on 14–16 June 2011. This exercise included the participation and contributions of WHO country representatives from the six WHO regions. Aside from building capacity in emergency preparedness and response, this exercise also provided participants with an opportunity to share lessons learned, use these experiences to strengthen the emergency planning at points of entry and improve technical guidance tools on emergency preparedness and response at points of entry.
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SEARO: National table-top simulation exercises on multi-sector pandemic preparedness and response in Bhutan
A national table-top exercise was held on 29-30 March in Taba, Thimphu Bhutan under the scope of the UN Central Fund for Influenza Action (CFIA) Project. The exercise brought together decision makers responsible for emergency preparedness planning and response and experts from the UN System and other international partners. Findings and conclusions will be taken into account in the revision of the National Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan (NIPPP), guidelines and standard operating procedures.
WPRO: Japan earthquake and nuclear concerns - Update
Further to the 9.0-magnitude that struck the northeast coast of Honshu Japan on 11 March and subsequent tsunami and nuclear accidents, WPRO continues to monitor the situation and coordinate the response in close collaboration with the Japanese Government, the International Atomic Energy Agency and other global partners. As of 7 June, 15 382 people are confirmed dead, 5 364 injured, 8 191 missing and 93 270 people have been evacuated from the affected regions.