International Health Regulation

IHR (2005) – Frequently Asked Questions

What are the International Health Regulations (2005)?

The International Health Regulations (2005), IHR (2005), are lawfully binding regulations (under international law) that seek to:

  • help countries to work together to save lives and livelihoods endangered by the spread of disease and other health risks and,
  • prevent unnecessary interference with international travel and trade.


How did the International Health Regulations (2005) come about?

The International Health Regulations originated with the International Sanitary Regulations adapted in Paris in 1851. An international cooperation in public health was necessary then due to outbreaks of cholera in Europe in 1930 1nd 1947.This entity then became the International Health Regulations (1969).

It became essential to revise the IHR (1969) due to the:

  • Emergence of new diseases and an upsurge of re-emerging diseases
  • Reliance on individual countries for notification
  • Lack of an official global coordinated system to stop the international spread of disease

The IHR (2005) entered into force on 15 June 2007, and are at present binding on 194 countries across the globe, including Jamaica.


Who is responsible for implementing the IHR (2005) in Jamaica?

The Government of Jamaica is responsible for implementing the International Health Regulations. The National IHR Focal Point resides in the Ministry of Health in The Emergency Disaster Management and Special Services Branch. Although the Ministry of Health is the lead agency for implementing IHR (2005), a multi sectoral, multi disciplinary approach must be applied in order to successfully attain and sustain the core capacities.

The World Health Organization has the overall responsibility to conduct global surveillance and ensure that this information is shared with member states including Jamaica. The World Health Organization continues to provide technical support to member states in the attainment of these Regulations.


How will the Implementation of IHR (2005) impact Jamaica?

  1. Jamaica will be better able to prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats, taking into account the most likely events.
  2. Jamaica will realize full respect for the dignity, human rights and fundamental freedom of persons.
  3. The Government of Jamaica  will build the confidence of health care workers through actions that encourage protection of and respect for health care workers’ rights,
  4. Jamaica will improve the entire national health system as IHR (2005) activities build on existing health systems in Jamaica.
  5. The IHR (2005) are very important to public health and will help Jamaica, as well as the global community.