Strengthening health security by implementing the International Health Regulations (2005)

The designation or establishment of national IHR focal points

The International Health Regulations (2005) entered into force on 15 June 2007 and the establishment of a national IHR focal points network will be key to their successful implementation.

The WHO Secretariat is aware that Member States may have varying perspectives concerning the appropriate roles for their national IHR focal points and the appropriate site for it in their national governmental structures. Given the differences in national governmental structures and roles, some variation is inevitable regarding the implementation of this obligation, consistent with the specific requirements of article 4 of the IHR (2005). At the same time, a level of global standardization is required for the network of national IHR focal points to operate effectively. To this end, and in fesponse to requests from WHO Member States, the IHR Secretariat has produced the guidance below.

This guidance is intended to assist Member States in understanding and clarifying how they can meet their relevant obligations under the IHR (2005). It is anticipated that this guidance may be revised as experience is gained in the process of establishing the national IHR focal points network.