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Facilitating IHR implementation

Co-leaders: Italy (ISS), WHO-GCR

Team members: Albania (IPH), Bulgaria (NCIPD), Cyprus (MoH), Greece (HCDCP/KEELPNO), Israel (MoH), Jordan (MoH), Morocco (MoH), SEEHN, Slovenia (NIPH/IVZ), Tunisia (MoH)


In order to increase health security in the Mediterranean Area and Balkans, it is necessary to enhance preparedness, detection and response capacity at national/regional levels to face threats to public health. The framework of the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005 is particularly useful in this effect because it is not only legally binding for all EpiSouth partners but it also lists core capacities that need to be met, detailing a mechanism for information exchange and response collaboration under the umbrella of WHO.

Implementation of IHR core capacities is currently taking place throughout the Region.

Countries are facing diverse and common challenges in implementation and can benefit from the exchange of experiences. In this context a collaborative framework such as EpiSouth can be useful is exchanging problems and solutions.


To increase the health security in the Mediterranean Area and South East Europe by facilitating the IHR implementation at national and regional levels.


  • The level of implementation of International Health Regulations (IHR) in the Mediterranean Region was analysed, identifying coordination of surveillance between ports, airports and ground crossings – hereby called Points of Entry (PoE)- and national health systems (NHS) as a priority among Mediterranean countries for IHR implementation.
  • The EpiSouth Plus National Situation Analysis (ENSA) was performed in four countries of the network chosen on the basis of their experience in the coordination of human health surveillance between PoE and NHS, their demographic and geo-political characteristics and their willingness to be part of the study.
  • A strategic document focussing on the coordination of epidemiological surveillance between PoE and NHS in the framework of IHR, in the EpiSouth region was developed building on the research conducted throughout the duration of the EpiSouth Plus project and summarizing, from a Mediterranean regional perspective, available evidence on IHR implementation and the findings of the ENSA.

Activities were performed through a review of literature, an analysis of IHR assessments, a situation analysis and two workshops (First in 2011 and Second in 2012).