In the globalized world, diseases can spread far and wide via international travel and trade. A health crisis in one country can impact livelihoods and economies in many parts of the world. The International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005 are an international legal instrument that is binding on 194 countries across the globe, including all World Health Organization (WHO) Member States. Their aim is to help the international community prevent and respond to acute public health risks that have the potential to cross borders and threaten people worldwide. The IHR seeks to limit interference with international traffic and trade while ensuring the safety of the public's health.
The IHR require countries to report certain disease outbreaks and public health events to WHO. They also define the rights and obligations of countries to report public health events, and establish a number of procedures that WHO must follow in its work to uphold global public health security. The IHR also require countries to strengthen their existing capacities for public health surveillance and response. WHO is working closely with countries and partners to provide technical guidance and support to mobilize the resources needed to implement the new rules in an effective and timely manner. WHO negotiated a partnership with the O’Neill Institute, the University of Geneva, and the University of Pretoria to collaborate on a three-year project to develop a new global health training course to facilitate national-level implementation of the IHR 2005 (i.e., “IHR i-Course”). In particular, the O’Neill Institute will provide its expertise on relevant legal issues.
The IHR i-Course's primary objectives are to strengthen critical human resources engaged to set-up and manage systems for securing global public health under the IHR implementation framework and develop communication capacities for efficient international collaboration. The course is currently comprised 210 hours of content delivered through blended learning (e.g., distance and face-to-face) over a 4-month period. Read More »
World Health Assembly, Revision of the International Health Regulations, WHA Res. 58.3, art. 65 (May 23, 2005).
World Health Organization, IHR E-Library