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International Health Regulation

ABOUT IHR (2005)

The International Health Regulations (2005) or IHR (2005) are legally-binding international regulations which aim to advance the capability of countries to work together to save lives and livelihoods endangered by the spread of diseases and other health risks.

The purpose and scope of IHR 2005 are to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease in ways that are commensurate with and restricted to public health risks, and which avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.

Compliance with the IHR (2005) necessitate Jamaica to develop and sustain specific core capacities to identify, report and respond to public health threats from various agents,  including biological, chemical and  radiological agents.

For more information about IHR (2005), contact http://www.who.int/ihr/en/index.html.


Under the IHR (2005) there are 13 core capacities:

1. Legislation, Policy and Financing

Countries should strengthen the effectiveness of the regulatory framework and ensure that they are aligned with IHR (2005) and implemented.

2. Coordination, Communication and Advocacy

Coordinate multi-sectoral teams to strengthen local and international alliances towards the effective implementation of IHR.

3. Surveillance

Strengthen the mechanism to improve the rapidness of the detection, risk assessment, notification and effective response to public health threats.

4. Response

Strengthen the multi-sectoral emergency response teams at all levels.

5. Public Health Emergency Preparedness

Develop and strengthen the national all hazard public health emergency preparedness and response plan.

6. Risk communication

Facilitate the strengthening of mechanisms to develop effective risk communication during public health emergencies.

7. Human resource capacity

Provide the required number and mix of skilled staff to implement IHR core capacities island wide.

8. Laboratory

Strengthen the laboratory services by ensuring the availability of appropriate equipment and services to test priority health threats in a timely manner.

9. Points of Entry

Strengthen the capacity of the Points of Entry through heightened surveillance and response mechanisms.

10. Zoonotic Events

Strengthen the capacity for the early detection and response to diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans that may be of international and national concern.

11. Food Safety

Improve the mechanisms to detect and respond to food safety events that may be of national and international concern.

12. Chemical Events

Capacity building is required to detect and respond to chemical events that may pose a threat to humans, animals and the environment.

13. Radiological Emergency

The provision of equipment and manpower is required to detect and respond to radiological and nuclear emergencies of national and international concern.

Continued – IHR (2005) – Frequently Asked Questions

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.