Global health security
In an increasingly interconnected world, all countries need to have the capability to prevent, detect, and respond to health threats and emergencies that carry broad health consequences. Multisectoral commitment across relevant sectors such as human and animal health, agriculture, food safety, finance, transport and logistics, development and civil protection is of key importance.
Finland is an active advocate of global health security at various fora such as the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), which focuses on tackling cross-border bio and health security threats, and the Alliance for Health Security Cooperation (AHSC), a platform for facilitating multisectoral collaboration on health security capacity building and International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) implementation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) advances health security improvement and implementation of International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005) through voluntary, external country evaluations. The JEE Alliance facilitates collaboration to support external evaluations and the development and implementation of costed national action plans to strengthen country capacities.
WHO Joint External Evaluations (JEE) and country capacity building
The International Health Regulations is an international agreement between 196 countries including all WHO Member States. The countries have agreed to build their capacities to detect, assess and report public health events. In order to build capacity for health security, countries need adequate and timely information about the existing gaps in the national systems for preparedness and response.
In February 2016, WHO adopted the Joint External Evaluation (JEE) tool. The JEE consists of a self-evaluation as well as an assessment by an external evaluation team. As a result of the evaluation, a report is being published. The purpose of a country assessment is to help countries identify gaps in their current health systems and preparedness and to develop a multisectoral plan to address these gaps. Different processes complement the overall assessment of country preparedness. For example, the OIE Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) Pathway is designed to evaluate country’s ability to meet OIE international standards as and to help strengthen animal health systems. WHO has also developed other tools such as simulation exercises and JEE-PVS workshops for country preparedness.
Therefore the evaluation marks the beginning of a long-term capacity building process.