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

IHR News

The WHO quarterly bulletin on IHR implementation

What's new in the WHO regions1

WHO response to pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus

AFRO: Strengthening biosafety and biosecurity, 8–13 June 2009 and Training for

The two training programmes, developed in collaboration between IHR Coordination, the African Center for Integrated Laboratory Training, Johannesburg, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and National Health Laboratory Service, South Africa, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, brought together participants from 17 countries in the African Region, Barbados and Viet Nam. Each of the trainings began with a pre-test, followed by modules and a final test per section. All of the participants passed the tests, and received certificates of achievement for biosafety and security and for the transport of infectious substances. For further information:

AFRO: Assessment of core capacities, 13–24 June 2009, Kenya

The mission to assess IHR core capacities in Kenya from 13 to 24 June 2009 was carried out in collaboration with a team from AFRO, the Country Office and the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation. Assessments were made in all of the provinces in the country, including Nairobi Province. The results were shared with major stakeholders and partners, and a plan of action for strengthening IHR core capacities will be developed shortly based on the findings and recommendations. For further information:

AFRO: Review of preparedness and response capacity during mass gatherings, 15 –22 June 2009, Johannesburg, South Africa

Under the scope of the IHR, an assessment mission took place to review public health aspects of preparedness and response regarding public health risks in South Africa for mass gatherings (MG), pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus and IHR core capacities. The team assessed health measures implemented for mass gatherings using WHO MG tools, observed MG health measures implemented during the current Confederations Cup and made several site visits to airports, hospitals and stadia. It also met with national health authorities and the FIFA/Local Organizing Committees. For further information:

EMRO: International consultation on preparedness for mass gatherings (Umrah and Hajj), June 27–30, 2009, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The objective of this multidisciplinary consultation on communicable diseases preparedness and planning was to strengthen planning for Umrah and the Hajj pilgrimage in 2009. Work during this meeting focussed on the finalization of a comprehensive strategic preparedness plan for this year’s Umrah and Hajj season, with emphasis on planning in the context of the current pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus. For further information:

PAHO: Regional response to pandemic (H1N1) 2009

In response to pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus in the PAHO Region, the majority of the countries followed their pandemic preparedness risk communication strategies, created over the last three years during risk and outbreak communication training throughout the Region and based on the IHR set of reporting as well as the WHO Outbreak Communication Guidelines. A PAHO survey of South and Central America revealed that the ministers of health in most of the countries responded to the outbreak in North America by speaking almost immediately with their populations via the media. The first announcements of cases were handled quickly and transparently and the media reported fairly and accurately.

PAHO: Launch of Cooperative Arrangement for Preventing the Spread of Communicable Disease through Air Travel (CAPSCA) in the Americas, 25–26 June 2009, Mexico City, Mexico

The first meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on the CAPSCA Americas project was held as part of the pandemic preparedness planning in the aviation sector. The goal of this project is to contribute to global efforts for preventing the spread of communicable diseases of international public health concern by reducing the risk of transmission by air travellers. Objectives of this meeting included establishing the Steering Committee and project implementation teams, and reviewing the project workplan. ICAO encourages all states and territories in the Americas region to participate in, and become members of, the project.

SEARO/WPRO: Bi-regional Workshop of the Asia Pacific Strategy for Strengthening Health Laboratory Services (2010-2015), 23–25 June 2009, Bali, Indonesia

The bi-regional workshop to promote health laboratories strengthening, a special focus on improving quality, was held in Bali from 23 to 25 June. This workshop was designed within the framework of the IHR and bi-Regional strategy for Asia Pacific, a collaborative project between SEARO, WPRO and WHO headquarters (Lyon). The objectives were to review the status of health laboratories in Asia Pacific; discuss and finalize the draft of Asia-Pacific strategy on strengthening health laboratory services (2010-2015); identify national mechanisms for implementation of quality systems in health laboratories; introduce the WHO-CDC-CLSI Laboratory Quality Management Training Toolkit (see above) and develop a roadmap for its implementation in the Asia Pacific region. For further information:

1The six WHO regional offices: AFRO – Regional Office for Africa ; EMRO - Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean; EURO - Regional Office for Europe; PAHO/AMRO – Pan American Sanitary Bureau/Regional Office for the Americas; SEARO - Regional Office for South-East Asia; WPRO - Regional Office for the Western Pacific.