Strengthening IHR and health emergency capacities through implementation of national action plans
AbstractThe International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) have served as a valuable guidepost for national and international capacity-building, coordination and collaboration for global health security. Implementation of IHR is becoming a priority worldwide and each region of WHO is actively pursuing the goals to be achieved to become fully compliant with IHR. Member States in this Region have 100% compliance with mandatory annual IHR reporting via the State Party Annual Report (SPAR) since 2016. Till 2018, eight out of the 11 Member States of the Region had completed joint external evaluations (JEEs). To review and assess functional capacity, five countries (India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka) in the Region conducted after-action reviews while Indonesia and Nepal conducted simulation exercises involving different stakeholders, including WHO. IHR core capacities have significantly improved in the South-East Asia Region over the past 10 years. However, national core capacities are still weak in areas such as zoonoses, food safety, health service provision, risk communication, points of entry, preparedness for and management of chemical biological and radionuclear (CBRN) events (ports, ground-crossing and airports). IHR national focal points (NFPs) across the Region need to improve capacity in the following areas with more impetus and investments: emergency preparedness; readiness to deal with any unexpected chemical or radionuclear emergency; enhancing biosafety and biosecurity in laboratory networks to curb increasing antimicrobial resistance due to weak medical countermeasures and delayed personnel deployment; and improving prevention and control of disease transmission at the points of entry. Member States should prioritize national action plans for health security and mobilize domestic funding and partners’ support to implement the plans. IHR Performance of Veterinary Services Pathways should be encouraged, following the One Health approach and improving intersectoral coordination mechanisms. The five-year Regional Strategic Plan to Strengthen Public Health Preparedness and Response (2019–2023) has been drafted in line with the five-year Global Strategic Plan to improve Public Health Preparedness and Response. The global strategic plan was welcomed by the World Health Assembly in May 2018 through decision WHA71(15). It serves as a guide for strategies of Member States in aligning and adapting country-specific priorities for achieving health security. The attached Working Paper was presented to the High-Level Preparatory Meeting. The HLP Meeting reviewed the paper and made the following recommendations for consideration by the Seventy-second Session of the Regional Committee: Actions by Member States (1) Accelerate the implementation of IHR: through development/revision and implementation of NAPHS; allocation of sufficient resources; regular monitoring and evaluation; and coordination with related stakeholders. (2) Utilize various IHR MEF tools including State Party Annual Report, After-Action Reviews, simulation exercises or joint external evaluations, as appropriate, for objective assessment of IHR core capacities. (3) Continue building capacity of IHR National Focal Points through strengthening and inter-linking them with new and existing networks (for example, Regional Knowledge Network of IHR NFP+, Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network and Rapid Response Teams Network). Actions by WHO (1) Continue providing support to Member States for IHR implementation. (2) Support the strengthening of the Regional Knowledge Network of IHR NFP+. (3) Facilitate the establishment of partnerships and mobilization of resources for and with the Member States for the implementation of national action plans for health security. This working paper and the HLP recommendations are submitted to Seventy-second Session of the WHO Regional Committee for South-East Asia for its consideration.
World Health Organization. Regional Office for South-East Asia. (2019). Strengthening IHR and health emergency capacities through implementation of national action plans. World Health Organization. Regional Office for South-East Asia. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/327908