WHO: A first step towards improving the effectiveness of the International Health Regulations


The 196 States parties to the International Health Regulations (IHR), in force since 2007 to respond to public health emergencies around the world, have taken a first step to improve its effectiveness after the failure of the Covid-19 crisis, announced Saturday the WHO.

States “have agreed in principle to an important and innovative set of amendments to the IHR,” the WHO said in a press release.

The IHR regulates in particular the declaration of a health emergency of international concern – the highest alert level of the WHO – and includes specific measures in ports and airports, as well as at border crossings in order to limit the spread of risks.

The revision of the IHR should make it possible to strengthen the capacities of countries to detect health crises likely to take on an international dimension and to respond to them, to better take into account the notion of pandemic, while underlining the principles of “equity and solidarity “.

After the Covid-19 pandemic, several voices questioned the effectiveness of the RSI, believing that it had neither prevented nor contained the crisis.

This process of revising the IHR, launched in 2022, is taking place in parallel with negotiations on the development of a global agreement on the prevention and fight against pandemics. The objective of this draft treaty is to better coordinate the international response, with at its heart the thorny issue of equitable access to vaccines, treatments and screening tools.

IHR negotiators are due to finalize their work next week. The amendments will have to be validated at the World Health Assembly, from May 27 to June 1 in Geneva, the date on which the WHO also hopes to conclude the treaty on pandemics.

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