The WHO quarterly bulletin on IHR implementation
What's new in the WHO regions
EMRO: Post dengue fever/dengue haemorrhagic fever outbreak consultation workshop, 27 to 29 February 2012, Lahore, Pakistan
The purpose of the workshop was to document the experiences and lessons learned during the 2011 dengue outbreak in Pakistan and to provide a set of conclusions and recommendations for improving existing strategies and programmes for dengue prevention and control. Over 150 participants came together to share lessons learnt from Pakistan and to reflect on inputs provided from international experts. Emergencies such as large outbreaks of dengue place enormous demands on health staff, systems and resources. Often decisions are taken when information is scarce, and uncertainty and anxiety are high. In addition, there is significant media interest and pressure on health authorities to demonstrate results. An expanded notion of communication is vital for effective dengue prevention and control. This includes addressing: the communication skills of staff involved in surveillance and response; the communication practices of the teams and partners involved; and the communication strategies and tactics used in social mobilization. Addressing the first two issues can have significant impact at the population level by: 1) rapidly identifying the right interventions that will save lives and limit transmission at different stages of the outbreak; 2) sharing information quickly, at the right times and in the appropriate way to help take decisions about allocating resources; and 3) ensuring that the right strategies are used to engage the hearts and minds of individuals so they see the value in taking specific actions to reduce their risks and protect their families and communities. Integrating communication in such a strategic way, harmonized with existing health systems, ensures that bottom-up and top-down approaches are combined to address both technical accuracy as well as behavioural efficacy.
EMRO: Inter-country meeting on strengthening of surveillance and response capacities under the IHR, Beirut, Lebanon, 26 to 28 March 2012
This meeting was organized by EMRO, with the participation of EURO and HQ. All IHR National Focal Points were invited to share country experiences and challenges in the building of surveillance and response capacities required for implementation of IHR (2005). Following presentations, four working groups met on topics contributing to building and sustaining surveillance and response capacities: identification of strengths and weaknesses in surveillance and response capacities; role of global and regional networks; requirements of surveillance at Points of Entry; and human resources for surveillance and response. Among recommendations, Member States were asked to define their positions in meeting all the technical requirements for IHR (2005) implementation by 15 June 2012 either by sending a request for extension or not of the deadline for an additional of two years; and to develop national plans for IHR (2005) supporting their request for extension. It was also recommended to conduct similar meetings IHR News 12 April 2012, No. 18 5 involving other regions on specific technical areas relevant to IHR (2005) implementation, to map the existing networks and to develop a platform for collaboration with NFP, to develop a guidance document on expanding the existing surveillance and response system to include event based surveillance, and to improve surveillance at points of entry, including cross-border activities.
EURO: Adapted version of the IHR i-course for Russian-speaking countries
The implementation of the IHR continues to be a priority for EUR Member States. As most of these countries are Russian speaking, WHO is making efforts to provide support in Russian. One key element of WHO’s support continues to be the IHR implementation course (IHR i-course), launched in 2010. To date 89 participants from 57 Member States have participated in the first 3 courses, and have underlined the quality and relevance of this initiative, as it contributes to the promotion of a global harmonized approach to interpretation and application of the IHR framework. DCE/EURO, assisted by HQ/GCR, have designed a project aiming at developing an adapted version of the existing IHR course to Russian-speaking countries. At the end of March 2012 a meeting was held in EURO to start assessing specific training needs in beneficiary countries and considering conditions for adaptation of existing model.
EURO: EpiSouth workshop on preparedness and response, Madrid, Spain, 27 to 29 February 2012
The EpiSouth network workshop on public health preparedness and response gathered representatives from EURO and HQ. The network represents 27 countries across AFRO, EMRO and EURO Regions and includes activities directly related to building country capacity in the areas of surveillance, and preparedness. The workshop focused on guidance in drafting of all hazards preparedness plans, public health emergencies and preparatory steps towards the conduct of a functional exercise, including elements of detection and notification under the IHR, planned for early 2013.
EURO: Core capacity assessment in Kyrgyzytan, 5 to 9 March 2012
Upon request of the Ministry of Health of Kyrgyzstan, Euro and HQ jointly conducted an IHR core capacities assessment mission from 5 to 9 March 2012. The purpose of this mission was to conduct a descriptive cross-sectional assessment of the national surveillance and response systems and mechanisms in place for all public health risks, and to identify gaps and opportunities in the IHR implementation process. The assessment showed that a lot of the required capacities have been strengthened over the last years, particularly in the health sector, where the health-care reform and the support from many different donors have given a substantial input. Despite all these efforts, a number of significant gaps remain and are meant to be tackled. The Kyrgyz Republic has indicated that they will be requesting an extension to achieve the full implementation of the IHR by 2014, the end of the extension period.
SEARO: Workshop on the implementation of IHR, Bangkok 7 to 9 December 2011
The objectives of the workshop were to review progress in implementation of IHR core capacities in SEARO, to identify resources required to strengthen national, inter-country and regional IHR core capacities and to identify strategic approaches to strengthen IHR implementation. Representatives from nine countries attended the workshop, including participants from ministries concerned with zoonotic diseases, food safety, chemical safety and radiological safety.
Recommendations from the workshop included the following:
- WHO support for the assessment of national IHR core capacities and the development of IHR implementation plans, including development of a complementary regional action plan.
- Increased advocacy for implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005).
- WHO, Member States and partners working together to facilitate inter-country support for study tours, share examples of best practice and provide technical support to strengthen capacity for chemical and radiological safety.
- Strengthened regional roster of experts and arrangements for information exchange and outbreak response when a public health event occurs.
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