WHO International Health Regulations 2005

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the limitations of the WHO International Health Regulations 2005, which was implemented by 196 countries across the world. In response to the challenges highlighted by the pandemic, the first round of negotiations concerning the amendments to the regulations was recently concluded. More than 300 suggested changes were proposed for this document, which is the binding instrument of international law that entered into force in 2007.

Purpose of the International Health Regulations

The purpose of the International Health Regulations 2005 is to prevent, protect, control, and provide a public health response to the global spread of disease and prevent hindrances in global traffic and trade. It requires the states to strengthen disease surveillance and response capabilities at all levels.

Amendments in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The proposed amendments to the International Health Regulations are in response to the challenges highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has exposed the limitations of the regulations and the need for better preparedness and response to global health threats.

The proposed changes aim to improve the global response to public health emergencies, including strengthening disease surveillance and response capabilities, improving the sharing of information and data, and enhancing collaboration between countries and international organizations. The changes will also address the issue of inadequate funding and resources for global health emergencies, including the establishment of a dedicated fund for emergency response.

Next Steps for the Amendments

The first round of negotiations has concluded, and the next meeting of the Working Group on Amendments to the International Health Regulations is to be convened on 17-20 April. This meeting will provide an opportunity to discuss the proposed amendments and make further recommendations.

The amendments will need to be adopted by the World Health Assembly before they can come into force. This process is likely to take several years, but the proposed changes represent an important step towards strengthening global health security and improving the global response to public health emergencies.



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