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

IHR News

The WHO quarterly bulletin on IHR implementation


What's new in IHR coordination and support

65th World Health Assembly: Resolution WHA65.23 reaffirms need for increased support to countries to achieve IHR requirements and strengthen capacities for management of public health emergencies

During the 65th World Health Assembly, a last-minute drafting group of Member State delegations adopted a resolution that reaffirms commitment to the implementation of IHR at national level. The resolution underscored the need for strengthened collaboration among States Parties to achieve full implementation. It calls on the Secretariat to strengthen its own capacities for supporting countries in managing public health emergencies and building their national capacities. It also provides direction on the process of monitoring and reporting on State Party capacities and preparations for the granting of further extension to the time line in 2014.

Guidance on coordination between points of entry and national surveillance systems: WHO Expert Consultation, 16−18 July 2012, Lyon, France

This consultation involved experts in surveillance and in points of entry (PoE), members of the Episouth network, and WHO staff. It marked the first meeting on communications between PoE and national surveillance systems, two technical areas that do not traditionally meet. The consultation provided an opportunity to identify surveillance activities at PoE as well as common gaps; mechanisms for collaboration and information sharing between staff working at PoE and those working on surveillance. Participants agreed that guidance for improving communication between PoE and national surveillance systems is needed; this guidance will be led by WHO and developed with the contribution of experts and countries. The main challenge will be to develop short and simple guidelines that are specific enough to provide operational support to teams working in the field.

IHR core capacities table top exercise development, 23−25 July 2012, Geneva, Switzerland

WHO technical experts from a range of areas including polio eradication, emergency response, country collaboration, innovation information evidence and research, health security and environment and consultants from Afghanistan and Cameroon came together learn how to develop table top exercises to support Member States in strengthening national capacities for surveillance and response. The workshop, which teaches the development, conduct and evaluation of table top exercises, has been conducted previously in Ankara, Turkey and Nairobi, Kenya.

Laboratory: Publication of the Laboratory Assessment Tool

The Laboratory Assessment Tool offers guidance to assess laboratories and national laboratory systems. The target audience is any stakeholder performing laboratory assessments: national health authorities, multilateral agencies, Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs), laboratory managers, etc. This document describes a general process for assessing laboratories and provides two questionnaires to help assess national laboratory systems (Annex 1) and individual laboratories (Annex 2). Assessors can use it as is or can customize the available materials to meet local requirements or specificities to better fit the assessment context. The Laboratory Assessment Tool is available in English and will soon be available in French and Spanish.

New WHO ship sanitation training toolkit tested in Turkey

The IHR require that States Parties identify ports with staff able to issue Ship Sanitation Certificates (see listed ports at www.who.int/ihr/ports_airports/portslanding/en/index.html). This requires the availability of trained personnel to conduct ship inspections at ports. Ships travelling internationally are required to be inspected every six months and renew their certificates. Further to the publication of the Handbook for Ship Inspection and Issuance of Ship Sanitation Certificates, WHO, in consultation with experts around the world, is developing a training toolkit (involving distance learning and face-to-face training courses) for States Parties to train port health inspectors to inspect ships and deliver sanitation certificates to ships. The face-to-face component of the training toolkit was pilot tested in a training course organized by the Ministry of Health in Turkey and supported by WHO. This event provided opportunities for both training of personnel and evaluation of the training methodology and materials. Other training events are being organized in coordination with WHO regional offices and will be carried out in 2013.

WHO ports list

The WHO list of ports authorized to issue ship sanitation and ship sanitation exemption certificates has been updated and is available at: www.who.int/ihr/ports_airports/portslanding/en/index.html For further information or queries: ihrpag@who.int

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