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

About WHO Department of Global Capacities Alert and Response (GCR)

International Health Regulations implementation


Support to National IHR Focal Points

As a legal framework, the International Health Regulations (2005) establish a global structure aimed at providing the world adequate health security with the least-possible disruption to economies. Within this framework, WHO has a leadership role that includes surveillance, risk assessment and coordinated responses to significant, urgent disease threats. WHO's process of global surveillance involves the systematic collection and verification of information from many official and unofficial sources. The purpose of this is to allow WHO to assess events, including the need for informing other States Parties and for declaring a”Public Health Emergency of International Concern” (PHEIC). Through its Event Information Site WHO shares urgent event-related information that other countries need to protect their populations. The secure site is accessible to all National IHR Focal Points (NFP) and serves countries as an authoritative source of information on epidemiological status, risk assessment, response measures and their rationales. The NFP is a national centre, established or designated by each State Party, responsible for all government–WHO communications regarding IHR matters, such as notifications to WHO of public health events. The regulatory requirements for notifications by States Parties and their obligations to respond to requests for verification by WHO, aim to early identify any public health event that may constitute a public health emergency of international concern as determined through a standard decision protocol.

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