About IHR Bhutan
International Health Regulations (2005)- Introduction
The International Health Regulations (2005) or “IHR (2005)” are an international law which helps countries work together to save lives and livelihoods caused by the international spread of diseases and other health risks. They entered into force on 15 June 2007 and are binding on 194 countries across the globe, including Bhutan.
The IHR (2005) aim to prevent, protect against, control and respond to the international spread of disease while avoiding unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade. The IHR (2005) are also designed to reduce the risk of disease spread at international airports, ports and ground crossings.
The IHR (2005) establish a set of rules to support the global outbreak alert and response system and to require countries to improve international surveillance and reporting mechanisms for public health events and to strengthen their national surveillance and response capacities( Annex1).
The responsibility for implementing the IHR (2005) rests upon all States that are bound by the Regulations and WHO. The State is responsible, including all of its sectors, ministries, levels, officials and personnel for implementing the Regulations at the national level.
IHR 2005 entered into force on June 2007 and that the States Parties had agreed on 5 year timeframe for implementation of core capacities (2007-2009 periods were to be for planning and 2009-2012 for implementation). However, like many countries, Bhutan was not able to implement the IHR (2005) by June 2012 and had to request a two-year extension until June 2014, which was granted.
Surveillance and reporting mechanism have been developed in Bhutan to be able to notify Public Health Events of International Concern as required by the IHR (2005). However, in some areas more work needs to be done in order to fulfill Bhutan’s IHR (2005) obligations. These areas, amongst others, include the following:
- Specific capacities (Annex 1) are required for the implementation of health measures at international airports and certain ground crossings, designated by States Parties for this purpose.
- Review and adjustment of domestic legislation and administrative regulations in order to facilitate compliance with the provisions of the IHR (2005).
In this context, collaboration of all the sectors, ministries, levels, officials and personnel responsible for implementing the Regulations at the national level will be important. Support of high level officials will be crucial to ensure collaboration and provide directive for the implementation of the IHR (2005) in Bhutan.