Occupied Palestinian territory | Programme areas | International Health Regulations (IHR 2005)

International Health Regulations (IHR 2005)

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The International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) are an international agreement that is legally binding on 194 countries, including all WHO Member States. The purpose of the Regulations is to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of public health hazards in ways that are least disruptive to international travel and trade. Under the IHR countries are required to:

  • designate and establish a national IHR focal point
  • assess core capacities and develop an action plan to develop these to ensure full compliance with IHR requirements
  • develop, strengthen and maintain the capacity to detect, assess, notify (within 24 hours) and respond to events that have the potential to become public health emergencies of international concern
  • implement public health measures recommended by the WHO Director General.

The above should be fulfilled by countries as soon as possible before June 15 2012. If necessary, countries can apply for an extension of the above deadline twice for a period of two years each time.

The Ministry of Health of occupied Palestinian territory had applied to be recognized as a signatory to the IHR in January 2010. Since then WHO has been providing necessary technical and organizational support to the Ministry in leading national efforts towards strengthening core IHR capacities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In 2011–2012 WHO trained a national IHR focal point; supported the Ministry of Health to form an intersectorial national IHR committee to measure occupied Palestinian territory's progress in IHR implementation; identified objectives to be fulfilled to bring disease control capacities in line with IHR requirements; and supported the Ministry of Health and national IHR committee to assess national IHR core capacities and make decisions on whether to apply for an extension for compliance until 15 June 2014.

In order to support the Ministry in fulfilling IHR requirements in the coming months WHO will support translating the findings of the IHR core capacity assessment into a national IHR action plan and develop an application for extension of the IHR deadline. Following this WHO will continue to provide technical support to the Ministry of Health in implementing the Regulations to ensure that adequate public health capacities are in place in the country for detection, assessment and control of public health hazards of international concern. 

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