The purpose and scope of the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005 are “to
prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international
spread of disease in ways that are commensurate with and restricted to public health
risks, and which avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.”
The IHR 2005 innovations:
(a) A scope not limited to any specific disease or manner of transmission, but covering
“illness or medical condition, irrespective of origin or source that presents or
could present significant harm to humans”.
(b) State Party obligations to develop certain minimum core public health capacities.
(c) Obligations on States Parties to notify WHO of events that may constitute a
public health emergency of international concern according to defined criteria.
(d) Provisions authorizing WHO to take into consideration unofficial reports of
public health events and to obtain verification from States Parties concerning such
(e) Procedures for the determination of PHEIC “public health emergency of international
concern” by the Director-General and issuance of corresponding temporary recommendations,
after taking into account the views of an Emergency Committee.
(f) Protection of the human rights of persons and travelers.
(g) The establishment of National IHR Focal Points and WHO IHR Contact Points for
urgent communications between States Parties and WHO.
10 things we need to do to implement the IHR:
World Health Organization has expressed the need for an electronic network for information
sharing regarding IHR implementation.
- Know the IHR; purpose, scope, principles and concepts.
- Update the national legislations.
- Recognize shared realities and the need for collective defenses.
- Monitor and report on IHR implementation progress.
- Notify report, consult and inform WHO.
- Understand the role of the WHO in international event detection, joint assessment
- Participate in the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) determination
and WHO recommendations-making processes.
- Strengthen national surveillance and response capacities.
- Increase public health security at ports, airports and ground crossings.
- Use and disseminate IHR health documents at points of entry.