Signaling its strong commitment to the implementation of International Health Regulations (IHR), the Union health ministry in collaboration with the WHO Country Office for India has organised a national consultation on strengthening inter-sectoral coordination for IHR (2005) and Points of Entry, at Goa on November 18-19, 2015.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr (Prof) Jagdish Prasad, Director General of Health Services (DGHS) highlighted the critical role various sectors play in IHR and called for greater attention on building capacities at state level, particularly for hospital preparedness, infection control and surge capacity for IHR.
In his address, Anshu Prakash, joint secretary, ministry of health and family welfare, emphasized that pathogens do not recognise political boundaries and hence move across countries. “IHR are an instrument for the world to have a robust protocol for prevention, reporting, information sharing and preparedness. India is committed to becoming IHR compliant in 2016. The Goa meeting is an important step toward this goal,” he added.
Government of India has prioritised the implementation of IHR as it moves towards full compliance by 2016. It is investing in building and sustaining core capacities under IHR (2005), particularly in view of emerging global threats such as Ebola and MERS-CoV.
Speaking at the consultation, Dr Prakin Suchaxaya, coordinator-Health Programmes, WHO Country Office for India said, “Building and maintaining IHR core capacities of surveillance, response, laboratory verification, with preparedness, both at national and sub-national level for all hazards, and in particular zoonoses is absolutely critical. This calls for many different agencies and sectors to come together for public health and cannot be done by the health sector alone.”
Sectors represented in the meeting include human health, animal health, food safety, points of entry (ports, airports and ground crossings), atomic energy, shipping, airport authority, disaster management and response (NDMA), emergency medical and relief, international health as well as the Armed Forces-Health Division.
Several technical and research agencies are also participating, such as the National Centre for Disease Control, National Institute of Virology, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and the Public Health Foundation of India, National Institute of Health & Family Welfare, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, Family Welfare Training Centre , Mumbai etc.