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1.
Lancet Glob Health ; 10(7): e927, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1926999
2.
Global Health ; 18(1): 20, 2022 02 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1708171

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Country experiences of responding to the challenges of COVID-19 in 2020 highlighted how critical it is to have strong, in-country health security capacity. The UK government has invested in health security capacity development through various projects and agencies, including the UK Department of Health and Social Care, whose Global Health Security Programme provides funding to Public Health England (PHE) to implement health security support. This article describes the results and conclusions of the midterm evaluation, undertaken by Itad, of one of Public Health England's global health projects: International Health Regulations Strengthening, which operates across six countries and works with the Africa Centres for Disease Control. It also highlights some of the key lessons learned for the benefit of other agencies moving into supporting national health security efforts. RESULTS: The Itad team found strong evidence that the IHR Project is well aligned with, and responding to, partners' capability strengthening needs and that the three workstreams - systems coordination, workforce development and technical systems strengthening are implementing relevant and appropriate action to support national priorities. The IHR Project is also aligned with and complementary to other relevant UK development assistance although the Project could strengthen the strategic collaboration with WHO, US CDC and other UK government projects in countries. The Itad team also found that the IHR Project could be more effective if the technical assistance activities were accompanied by relevant materials and equipment while maintaining its supportive role. There was evidence of where technical assistance in the form of training and follow-up mentoring had led to improvements in practice and in IHR compliance, but these were not being systematically captured by the Project's routine reporting. CONCLUSIONS: There was good evidence that the project was doing the right things and aligning its work in the right way, with more limited evidence at the time of the midterm evaluation that it was making progress towards achieving the right results.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Global Health , Humans , International Cooperation , International Health Regulations , Public Health/methods , SARS-CoV-2 , World Health Organization
3.
Global Health ; 18(1): 13, 2022 02 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1676246

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The pandemic situation due to COVID-19 highlighted the importance of global health security preparedness and response. Since the revision of the International Health Regulations (IHR) in 2005, Joint External Evaluation (JEE) and States Parties Self-Assessment Annual Reporting (SPAR) have been adopted to track the IHR implementation stage in each country. While national IHR core capacities support the concept of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), there have been limited studies verifying the relationship between the two concepts. This study aimed to investigate empirically the association between IHR core capacity scores and the UHC service coverage index. METHOD: JEE score, SPAR score and UHC service coverage index data from 96 countries were collected and analyzed using an ecological study design. The independent variable was IHR core capacity scores, measured by JEE 2016-2019 and SPAR 2019 from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the dependent variable, UHC service coverage index, was extracted from the 2019 UHC monitoring report. For examining the association between IHR core capacities and the UHC service coverage index, Spearman's correlation analysis was used. The correlation between IHR core capacities and UHC index was demonstrated using a scatter plot between JEE score and UHC service coverage index, and the SPAR score and UHC service coverage index were also presented. RESULT: While the correlation value between JEE and SPAR was 0.92 (p < 0.001), the countries' external evaluation scores were lower than their self-evaluation scores. Some areas such as available human resources and points of entry were mismatched between JEE and SPAR. JEE was associated with the UHC score (r = 0.85, p < 0.001) and SPAR was also associated with the UHC service coverage index (r = 0.81, p < 0.001). The JEE and SPAR scores showed a significant positive correlation with the UHC service coverage index after adjusting for several confounding variables. CONCLUSION: The study result supports the premise that strengthening national health security capacities would in turn contribute to the achievement of UHC. With the help of the empirical result, it would further guide each country for better implementation of IHR.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , International Health Regulations , Humans , International Cooperation , SARS-CoV-2 , Universal Health Insurance
4.
Lancet ; 398(10316): 2109-2124, 2021 12 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1598178

ABSTRACT

Understanding the spread of SARS-CoV-2, how and when evidence emerged, and the timing of local, national, regional, and global responses is essential to establish how an outbreak became a pandemic and to prepare for future health threats. With that aim, the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response has developed a chronology of events, actions, and recommendations, from December, 2019, when the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in China, to the end of March, 2020, by which time the outbreak had spread extensively worldwide and had been characterised as a pandemic. Datapoints are based on two literature reviews, WHO documents and correspondence, submissions to the Panel, and an expert verification process. The retrospective analysis of the chronology shows a dedicated initial response by WHO and some national governments, but also aspects of the response that could have been quicker, including outbreak notifications under the International Health Regulations (IHR), presumption and confirmation of human-to-human transmission of SARS-CoV-2, declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and, most importantly, the public health response of many national governments. The chronology also shows that some countries, largely those with previous experience with similar outbreaks, reacted quickly, even ahead of WHO alerts, and were more successful in initially containing the virus. Mapping actions against IHR obligations, the chronology shows where efficiency and accountability could be improved at local, national, and international levels to more quickly alert and contain health threats in the future. In particular, these improvements include necessary reforms to international law and governance for pandemic preparedness and response, including the IHR and a potential framework convention on pandemic preparedness and response.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Pandemics , Animals , COVID-19/transmission , China/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Global Health/legislation & jurisprudence , Humans , Information Dissemination , International Cooperation , International Health Regulations , Risk Assessment , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Time Factors , World Health Organization , Zoonoses/virology
5.
Commun Dis Intell (2018) ; 452021 May 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1524942

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT: With COVID-19 affecting millions of people around the globe, quarantine of international arrivals is a critical public health measure to prevent further disease transmission in local populations. This measure has also been applied in the repatriation of citizens, undertaken by several countries as an ethical obligation and legal responsibility. This article describes the process of planning and preparing for the repatriation operation in South Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interagency collaboration, development of a COVID-19 testing and quarantining protocol, implementing infection prevention and control, and building a specialised health care delivery model were essential aspects of the repatriation operational planning, with a focus on maintaining dignity and wellbeing of the passengers as well as on effective prevention of COVID-19 transmission. From April 2020 to mid-February 2021, more than 14,000 international arrivals travellers have been repatriated under the South Australian repatriation operations. This paper has implications to inform ongoing repatriation efforts in Australia and overseas in a pandemic situation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Infection Control/legislation & jurisprudence , Public Health/legislation & jurisprudence , Quarantine/legislation & jurisprudence , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19 Testing/standards , Delivery of Health Care , Humans , Infection Control/methods , International Health Regulations , Pandemics , Public Health/methods , Quarantine/methods , Risk Assessment , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , South Australia/epidemiology , Travel
6.
Global Health ; 17(1): 128, 2021 11 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1505455

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A special session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) will be convened in late 2021 to consider developing a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response - a so-called 'Pandemic Treaty'. Consideration is given to this treaty as well as to reform of the International Health Regulations (IHR) as our principal governing instrument to prevent and mitigate future pandemics. MAIN BODY: Reasons exist to continue to work with the IHR as our principal governing instrument to prevent and mitigate future pandemics. All WHO member states are party to it. It gives the WHO the authority to oversee the collection of surveillance data and to issue recommendations on trade and travel advisories to control the spread of infectious diseases, among other things. However, the limitations of the IHR in addressing the deep prevention of future pandemics also must be recognized. These include a lack of a regulatory framework to prevent zoonotic spillovers. More advanced multi-sectoral measures are also needed. At the same time, a pandemic treaty would have potential benefits and drawbacks as well. It would be a means of addressing the gross inequity in global vaccine distribution and other gaps in the IHR, but it would also need more involvement at the negotiation table of countries in the Global South, significant funding, and likely many years to adopt. CONCLUSIONS: Reform of the IHR should be undertaken while engaging with WHO member states (and notably those from the Global South) in discussions on the possible benefits, drawbacks and scope of a new pandemic treaty. Both options are not mutually exclusive.


Subject(s)
International Health Regulations , Pandemics , Global Health , Humans , International Cooperation , Pandemics/prevention & control , World Health Organization
11.
BMJ Glob Health ; 6(7)2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1295212

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic is a devastating reminder that mitigating the threat of emerging zoonotic outbreaks relies on our collective capacity to work across human health, animal health and environment sectors. Despite the critical need for shared approaches, collaborative benchmarks in the International Health Regulations (IHR) Monitoring and Evaluation Framework and more specifically the Joint External Evaluation (JEE) often reveal low levels of performance in collaborative technical areas (TAs), thus identifying a real need to work on the human-animal-environment interface to improve health security. The National Bridging Workshops (NBWs) proposed jointly by the World Organisation of Animal Health and World Health Organization (WHO) provide opportunity for national human health, animal health, environment and other relevant sectors in countries to explore the efficiency and gaps in their coordination for the management of zoonotic diseases. The results, gathered in a prioritised roadmap, support the operationalisation of the recommendations made during JEE for TAs where a multisectoral One Health approach is beneficial. For those collaborative TAs (12 out of 19 in the JEE), more than two-thirds of the recommendations can be implemented through one or multiple activities jointly agreed during NBW. Interestingly, when associated with the WHO Benchmark Tool for IHR, it appears that NBW activities are often associated with lower level of performance than anticipated during the JEE missions, revealing that countries often overestimate their capacities at the human-animal-environment interface. Deeper, more focused and more widely shared discussions between professionals highlight the need for concrete foundations of multisectoral coordination to meet goals for One Health and improved global health security through IHR.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , One Health , Animals , Humans , International Cooperation , International Health Regulations , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
14.
Commun Dis Intell (2018) ; 452021 May 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1257614

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT: With COVID-19 affecting millions of people around the globe, quarantine of international arrivals is a critical public health measure to prevent further disease transmission in local populations. This measure has also been applied in the repatriation of citizens, undertaken by several countries as an ethical obligation and legal responsibility. This article describes the process of planning and preparing for the repatriation operation in South Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interagency collaboration, development of a COVID-19 testing and quarantining protocol, implementing infection prevention and control, and building a specialised health care delivery model were essential aspects of the repatriation operational planning, with a focus on maintaining dignity and wellbeing of the passengers as well as on effective prevention of COVID-19 transmission. From April 2020 to mid-February 2021, more than 14,000 international arrivals travellers have been repatriated under the South Australian repatriation operations. This paper has implications to inform ongoing repatriation efforts in Australia and overseas in a pandemic situation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Infection Control/legislation & jurisprudence , Public Health/legislation & jurisprudence , Quarantine/legislation & jurisprudence , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19 Testing/standards , Delivery of Health Care , Humans , Infection Control/methods , International Health Regulations , Pandemics , Public Health/methods , Quarantine/methods , Risk Assessment , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , South Australia/epidemiology , Travel
15.
PLoS One ; 16(6): e0245312, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1256013

ABSTRACT

Collaborative, One Health approaches support governments to effectively prevent, detect and respond to emerging health challenges, such as zoonotic diseases, that arise at the human-animal-environmental interfaces. To overcome these challenges, operational and outcome-oriented tools that enable animal health and human health services to work specifically on their collaboration are required. While international capacity and assessment frameworks such as the IHR-MEF (International Health Regulations-Monitoring and Evaluation Framework) and the OIE PVS (Performance of Veterinary Services) Pathway exist, a tool and process that could assess and strengthen the interactions between human and animal health sectors was needed. Through a series of six phased pilots, the IHR-PVS National Bridging Workshop (NBW) method was developed and refined. The NBW process gathers human and animal health stakeholders and follows seven sessions, scheduled across three days. The outputs from each session build towards the next one, following a structured process that goes from gap identification to joint planning of corrective measures. The NBW process allows human and animal health sector representatives to jointly identify actions that support collaboration while advancing evaluation goals identified through the IHR-MEF and the OIE PVS Pathway. By integrating sector-specific and collaborative goals, the NBWs help countries in creating a realistic, concrete and practical joint road map for enhanced compliance to international standards as well as strengthened preparedness and response for health security at the human-animal interface.


Subject(s)
Global Health , Goals , International Cooperation , International Health Regulations , Public Health , Animals , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Humans , Zoonoses
16.
PLoS One ; 16(4): e0248828, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1167100

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: On January 30th 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a international health emergency due to the unprecedented phenomenon of COVID-19. After this declaration countries swiftly implemented a variety of health policies. In this work we examine how rapid countries responded to this pandemic using two events: the day in which the first case of COVID-19 was reported, and first day in which countries used school closure as one of the measures to avoid outbreaks. We also assessed how countries' health systems, globalization, economic development, political systems, and economic integration to China, Republic of Korea and Italy increased the speed of adoption. METHODS: We compiled information from multiple sources, from December 31st 2019 to June 1st 2020, to trace when 172 countries reported their first COVID-19 case and implemented school closure to contain outbreaks. We applied cross-national Weibull survival analysis to evaluate the global speed of detection of first COVID-19 reported cases and school closure. RESULTS: Ten days after WHO declared COVID-19 to be an international emergency, relative to seven days from this declaration, countries were 28 (95% CI: 12-77) times more likely to report first COVID-19 cases and 42 (95% CI: 22-90) times more likely to close schools. One standard deviation increase in the epidemic security index rises the rate of report first cases by 37% (Hazard Ratio (HR) 1.37 (95% CI: 1.09-1.72) and delays the adoption for school closures by 36% (HR 0.64 (95% CI:0.50-0.82). One standard deviation increase in the globalization index augments the adoption for school closures by 74% (HR 1.74 (95% CI:1.34-2.24). CONCLUSION: After the WHO declared a global emergency, countries were unprecedently acting very rapidly. While countries more globally integrated were swifter in closing schools, countries with better designed health systems to tackle epidemics were slower in adopting it. More studies are needed to assess how the speed of school closures and other policies will affect the development of the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Global Health/statistics & numerical data , International Health Regulations/statistics & numerical data , Pandemics , Quarantine/statistics & numerical data , Schools , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , China , Humans , Internationality , Italy , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , Republic of Korea , Schools/organization & administration , Schools/statistics & numerical data
17.
Eur J Health Law ; 27(3): 232-241, 2020 06 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1160677

ABSTRACT

The current pandemic outbreak of corona virus SARS-CoV-2 shows the need for comprehensive European cooperation in drug development and the importance of genetic material and sequence data in research concerning this unknown disease. As corona virus SARS-CoV-2 is spreading across Europe and worldwide, national authorities and the European Union (EU) institutions do their utmost to address the pandemic and accelerate innovation to protect global health. In order to be prepared and to be able to respond immediately to serious epidemic and pandemic diseases, the EU has already adopted the Decision No (EU) 1082/2013 on serious cross-border threats to health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has established a global system to collect genetic material and information to protect a global influenza pandemic outbreak. The article describes the current legal landscape under EU and international law.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/legislation & jurisprudence , Databases, Genetic/legislation & jurisprudence , International Health Regulations , International Law , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , European Union , Humans , International Cooperation , World Health Organization
20.
Global Health ; 17(1): 25, 2021 03 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1119430

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR (2005)) require States Parties to establish National Focal Points (NFPs) responsible for notifying the World Health Organization (WHO) of potential events that might constitute public health emergencies of international concern (PHEICs), such as outbreaks of novel infectious diseases. Given the critical role of NFPs in the global surveillance and response system supported by the IHR, we sought to assess their experiences in carrying out their functions. METHODS: In collaboration with WHO officials, we administered a voluntary online survey to all 196 States Parties to the IHR (2005) in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South and North America, from October to November 2019. The survey was available in six languages via a secure internet-based system. RESULTS: In total, 121 NFP representatives answered the 56-question survey; 105 in full, and an additional 16 in part, resulting in a response rate of 62% (121 responses to 196 invitations to participate). The majority of NFPs knew how to notify the WHO of a potential PHEIC, and believed they have the content expertise to carry out their functions. Respondents found training workshops organized by WHO Regional Offices helpful on how to report PHEICs. NFPs experienced challenges in four critical areas: 1) insufficient intersectoral collaboration within their countries, including limited access to, or a lack of cooperation from, key relevant ministries; 2) inadequate communications, such as deficient information technology systems in place to carry out their functions in a timely fashion; 3) lack of authority to report potential PHEICs; and 4) inadequacies in some resources made available by the WHO, including a key tool - the NFP Guide. Finally, many NFP representatives expressed concern about how WHO uses the information they receive from NFPs. CONCLUSION: Our study, conducted just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, illustrates key challenges experienced by NFPs that can affect States Parties and WHO performance when outbreaks occur. In order for NFPs to be able to rapidly and successfully communicate potential PHEICs such as COVID-19 in the future, continued measures need to be taken by both WHO and States Parties to ensure NFPs have the necessary authority, capacity, training, and resources to effectively carry out their functions as described in the IHR.


Subject(s)
Disease Notification/legislation & jurisprudence , International Health Regulations , Public Health Administration/legislation & jurisprudence , COVID-19 , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Global Health , Humans , Surveys and Questionnaires , World Health Organization
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