Making the International Health Regulations Matter

Promoting compliance through effective dispute resolution

Authored by: Steven J. Hoffman

Routledge Handbook of Global Health Security

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  August  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415645478
eBook ISBN: 9780203078563
Adobe ISBN: 9781136155574

10.4324/9780203078563.ch20

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Abstract

Recent pandemic outbreaks like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002 and A(H1N1) influenza in 2009 highlight the central importance of the International Health Regulations (IHR) in maintaining global health security. Adopted through the governing bodies of the World Health Organization (WHO), the IHR establish a rule-based system for preventing and responding to acute health risks of international concern. They have the force of international law, empower WHO to coordinate pandemic responses, and impose a range of obligations on states. For example, the IHR oblige its 194 state parties to maintain surveillance and response capacities and to enforce minimum requirements at points of entry. The IHR also require governments to report certain enumerated public health events and tolerate declarations of emergencies and recommendations from WHO’s secretariat. Developed countries are further legally obligated to assist developing countries in achieving the core capacities required by this agreement (Baker & Forsyth 2007; Fidler & Gostin 2006; McDougall & Wilson 2007; World Health Organization 2006).

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