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Global Health Preparedness project launched

A project to support low-income countries in effective preparedness planning and disease surveillance was launched in December 2013. The Global Health Preparedness project will be led by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the EU attended the kick-off meeting.

 
 
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Participants at the kick-off meeting

The project is built on the International Health Regulations (IHR) approved by the WHO in 2005. Their purpose is to prevent and combat the international spread of acute health threats (biological, chemical and radiological) and to secure an international coordinated action. Every country has agreed to the regulations, but the majority have not been able to implement them.

“We want to raise public health security and preparedness as a priority area. We want to invite a wide national and international network, with relevant stakeholders in global health and intend to establish specific projects and collaborating arenas “, says Anne Bergh, International Director at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

A key question in this project is how the implementation of the IHR can be a tool to both prevent the international spread of infectious diseases and to help strengthen low-income countries’ own capacity to deal with outbreaks of national and international importance.

 

 

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 Bjørn-Inge Larsen

“Globalization has many positive aspects but also causes public health challenges that respect no borders," said Bjørn-Inge Larsen, Secretary General at the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services, at the kick-off meeting.

In her speech, Dr Stella Chungong from WHO welcomed such support, saying there is a great need for health preparedness for countries in Africa. So far, no African country has managed to meet the requirements of the IHR.

Preparedness principles of responsibility, proximity, equality and coordination mean that the responsible agency in a ‘peace time’ situation will also have responsibility in an emergency situation, with the same operational function. A well-functioning system in a normal situation will be best equipped to deal with an extraordinary situation. 

The project leader is Frode Forland.