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

IHR News

The WHO quarterly bulletin on IHR implementation

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IHR implementation: Stakeholders meetings in the WHO Regions

During the last quarter of 2012, WHO and its regional offices, with the participation of funding partners, convened a series of stakeholders meetings to map unmet needs to accelerate implementation of the IHR (2005) in the six WHO regions. The objectives of these meetings are to provide a forum for all stakeholders –- Member States, WHO (headquarters, regional, and country offices), technical partners, and donors –- to review the current regional situation in implementation of the IHR (2005), identify main achievements, and identify gaps and challenges; provide the opportunity for all stakeholders to identify recommendations and solutions to address the challenges and bridge the gaps identified; set the stage for further discussions on future strategies for collaboration, and partnership and the mobilization of technical and financial resources required to meet core capacities; endeavour to match identified needs, gaps, and priorities to available support and identify next steps in IHR core capacity development. Thus far, stakeholders meetings have taken place in SEARO (5-9 November, New Delhi, India), EMRO (12-15 November, Rabat, Morocco), AFRO (3-6 December, Lusaka, Zambia and 10-14 December, Yaoundé, Cameroon). The next stakeholders meeting will take place in EURO in February 2013. For further information:

EMRO: Meeting of risk communication focal points, 18-20 September 2012, Tunisia

Forty-six participants, representing Ministries of Health, crises management centres, academic institutions and WHO secretariat from country offices, regional office and headquarters, contributed to the discussions and outcomes of the first regional consultation on risk communication. The consultation was effective in beginning a dialogue about risk communication and taking the first steps to develop a regional framework that contributes to the functioning of national preparedness and response systems. The implication for risk communication from this meeting was that there should be a greater use of networking and collaboration in planning and execution of strategy. Given the complexity of communication, communication should not be an afterthought, but it should be an integral piece of emergency planning and delivery. There appears to be a wealth of data available about public health crises in the region that can serve as a basis for formulating and evaluating a risk communication plan. Lessons learnt and past events are worthy of serious reflection and thought to build an effective risk communication plan. What was clear from the lessons learnt is that this is the time to forge relationships and put in place a national structure (functions, networks, policies, and guidelines). Developing relationships and designing operating procedures during a public health emergency is not the best time as the emergency presents its own challenges. For further information:

EMRO: Development of a risk communication assessment tool

EMRO has piloted a risk communication assessment tool in 7 countries. The tool, which compliments the risk communication indicators in the IHR self-assessment tool, was developed to help understand where gaps exist between current practices and IHR requirements. The questions explore 3 primary areas: i) human resources; ii) organizational communication practices (including processing of information); and iii) channels of communication. The assessment tool intends to serve as a useful baseline to identify gaps and to start discussion and dialogue on developing national risk communication strategic frameworks.