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Volume 18, Number 7—July 2012

Perspective

International Health Regulations—What Gets Measured Gets Done

Kashef IjazComments to Author , Eric Kasowski, Ray R. Arthur, Frederick J. Angulo, and Scott F. Dowell
Author affiliations: World Health Organization Collaborating Center for International Health Regulations Implementation of National Surveillance and Response Capacity, Atlanta, Georgia, USA; and; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta

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Table 1

Goals, targets, and intended use for 4 core capacities for focusing International Health Regulations implementation

Capacity Goal Target/measure Intended use
Human resources Ensure adequate numbers of trained personnel are available to support the response to a public health emergency A national workforce plan and 1 trained field epidemiologist for every 200,000 persons Document that a workforce plan exists and is maintained and updated, and monitor annual progress toward the goal of 1 trained field epidemiologist for every 200,000 persons.
Surveillance Ensure that surveillance systems capable of detecting selected potential public health emergencies in any part of the country are established and functioning Surveillance infrastructure that demonstrates the ability to detect >3 of 5 syndromes indicative of a potential public health emergency of international concern Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the surveillance system, and identify areas for improvement within the country’s public health surveillance infrastructure.
Laboratory Ensure access to laboratory diagnostic capabilities that can identify a range of emerging epidemic pathogens by using the full spectrum of basic laboratory testing methods Ability to perform 10 core diagnostic tests for confirmation of indicator pathogens from any part of the country Assess/measure capacity for detection will by using external/internal quality assurance for each of the 10 core tests and indicator pathogens using standard methods.
Response Ensure countries have adequate rapid response capacity for public health emergencies At least 1 functioning rapid response team per major administrative unit Maintain an adequate number of rapid response teams with the necessary training, appropriate personnel, and regular outbreak responses.

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