Alert, response, and capacity building under the International Health Regulations (IHR)

IHR News

The WHO bulletin on IHR implementation

What's new in IHR coordination and support

Third Meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee concerning Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), 25 September 2013

The Third Meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee concerning MERS-CoV was convened by WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan on 25 September 2013, via teleconference. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar provided an update on recent developments in their countries; the WHO Secretariat presented epidemiological developments, information concerning the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages and recent WHO activities related to MERS-CoV. Further to the review and analysis of the information currently available and following a risk assessment approach, the members of the Emergency concluded that the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) had not been met. For the complete WHO statement on the Third Meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee concerning MERS-CoV:

Strengthening health security at ports, airports and ground crossings: WHO-EC project kick-off meeting, Brussels, Belgium, 25 September, 2013

The kick-off meeting for a WHO project on Strengthening Health Security at Ports, Airports and Ground crossings, funded by DG DEVCO (Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation, European Commission), took place in Brussels on 25 September 2013. The meeting marks officially the start of the first collaboration between WHO and the EU in the domain of implementing IHR at points of entry. The project consists of global, regional and national activities with special attention given to EMRO and EURO regions. The project aims at increasing health security globally by providing technical guidance and tools, information and knowledge sharing, international collaboration, and assisting countries in enhancing and strengthening their capacities for prevention, detection, control and response to public health events related to international travel and transport, notably implementing a learning program for ship inspection, and assisting countries in establishing public health emergency contingency plans following a multi-sectoral approach. The kick-off meeting provided an opportunity for the project management team to meet with representatives of DG DEVCO and discuss project objectives, the programme of work, as well as a communication plan.

Tutorials on the use of Annex 2 of the International Health Regulations (2005)

The second web-based tutorial for training National IHR Focal Points on the use of IHR Annex 2 on notification assessment has been launched. The tutorial provides a number of scenarios in which NFP personnel assess whether the events must be notified to WHO. Following the completion of each scenario the user is provided with the responses proposed by an expert panel as well as explanations for these responses. The purpose of the IHR Annex 2 tutorials is to support staff of all NFPs in increasing the sensitivity and consistency of the notification assessment process. This tutorial is based on the recommendations made by the IHR Review Committee and is accessible under:

If required please create an account at:

Training course for epidemiologists, Amman, Jordan, 20-24 August 2013

The International Health Regulations (IHR) training course for epidemiologists was co-organized by the World Health Organization and the Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (EMPHNET). The course was delivered from 20-24 August 2013 in Amman, Jordan, to 27 participants (including FETP fellows and directors, epidemiologists working at central level in the Ministries of Health, National IHR Focal Points and public health policy maker) from 10 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region (Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen). The overall objective of this course was to reinforce the capacities of current and future epidemiologists of the Region to effectively contribute to IHR implementation in their countries. The IHR training toolkit for epidemiologists was field tested, and the results will be used to consolidate the design and content of a 5-day IHR training package for epidemiologists. This package is one of the major components of the web-based IHR training toolkit for epidemiologists. The toolkit will be released to assist relevant institutions (FETPs, Schools of Public Health, Ministries…) to integrate IHR components in their training programmes/activities at country level.

Ports, Airports and Ground Crossings: Learning programme on ship sanitation inspection

A learning programme to support the port health inspectors responsible for ship inspections and issuance of the Ship Sanitation Certificate under the IHR 2005 has been finalized. This learning programme is comprised of two components:

  • an eLearning course requiring approximately 15 hours of work online
  • Face-To-Face (F2F) learning course where participants will have the opportunity to review the theoretical components of the eLearning course and put their newly acquired knowledge and skills in practice through a simulation exercise and real ship inspections.

The programme and materials are now available in English, Spanish and Portuguese; the Russian and French versions will follow shortly. For further information, please visit:

Handbook for inspection of ships and issuance of ship sanitation certificates: New language versions available

The Estonian, German, Turkish versions of the handbook for inspection and issuance of ship sanitation certificates have been released on the WHO web site. These are in addition to the English, French and Spanish versions. Available at:

Public Health Emergency Operations Centre Network (EOC-NET): Report of the consultation 19–20 November 2012, Geneva, Switzerland

Public health emergency operations centres (EOC) play critical roles in preparing for, and responding to, public health events and emergencies. A consultation meeting on public health EOC collaboration was held on 19–20 November 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting brought together 38 stakeholders from nine States Parties, seven regional and international organizations, WHO headquarters and all six WHO Regional Offices. Participants shared experiences, knowledge, and challenges regarding building, maintaining, using, and collaborating with EOCs, and proposed solutions for improvement. The Public Health Emergency Operations Centres Network (EOC-NET) was launched at the meeting. This report describes the current situation, main roles and challenges of public health EOCs, priority needs, EOC-NET objectives and next steps related to key working areas identified by participants. The report is available at under the “Latest guidance” tab.