International Health Regulations should focus on health systems

The implementation of the International Health Regulations should focus on strengthening health systems.  This was the main message of the statement that Wemos’ global health advocate Renée de Jong delivered on behalf of Medicus Mundi International and People’s Health Movement at this year’s 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva.

The statement addressed the concerns of Medicus Mundi International (MMI) and People’s Health Movement (PHM) about the focus on global health security in implementing the International Health Regulations (IHR). These regulations, which are legally binding, are an international framework on which countries have agreed to cooperate to protect against and respond to public health crises.


Global public goods

The organizations are concerned about the current narrow focus in the IHR on surveillance, and on protecting high-income countries from outbreaks from low- and middle-income countries. Rather, strengthening the capacity of health systems in low- and middle-income countries should be more prominent in the IHR.


‘Instead of a narrow focus on surveillance, the implementation of IHRs should be accompanied by measures to strengthen the capacity of health systems in LMICs. Fragile health system should not be further undermined through onerous conditions placed on them as a requirement for the implementation of IHRs. IHRs need to be viewed as global public goods and their implementation needs to include support to LMICs, including financial support and technology transfer, directed at building capacity of health systems.’


The World Health Assembly takes place each year; at this year’s 70th edition, the new WHO Director-General was elected.


Read the entire statement

Read more about Wemos and Health Systems Partnership

Read a blog by Fran Quigly (Indiana University McKinney School of Law) on WHO Watchers’ criticism on WHO budget approval at WHA70

Follow the WHA on Global Health Watch

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