Decisions at the World Health Assembly now require countries to report certain disease outbreaks and public health events to the World Health Organization (WHO) for global public health security.
The Regulations, which entered into force on 15 June 2007, define the rights and
obligations of countries to report public health events, and establish a number of procedures that WHO must follow in its work to uphold global public health security.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Zika virus, and the Avian Flu virus, among others, caused global public health security.
The decisions at the World Health Assembly on 26 May 2017 also focused on implementation of the International Health Regulations, and improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sepsis.
The delegates emphasized the urgent need to achieve full implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005), the international legal instrument designed to help the global community prevent and respond to acute public health risks that have the potential to cross borders and threaten people worldwide.
Sepsis occurs when a person has an infection and the body’s reaction injures tissues and organs. Sepsis can be triggered by infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Bacterial infections are the most common triggers. Early recognition of sepsis is crucial to treating patients before their condition worsens and becomes fatal. Antimicrobial resistance makes it much more difficult to treat infections and stop them evolving into sepsis. Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria and other microbes change to resist the effects of antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicine. Most infections can be avoided by improving hygiene, access to vaccinations and other infection prevention measures.
The resolution urges governments to strengthen policies and processes related to sepsis, especially to prevent infections and the further spread of antimicrobial resistance. It emphasizes the importance of reinforcing health worker training to recognize and deal effectively with the condition, improve tracking and reporting of cases, and promote research to develop more tools for sepsis diagnosis and treatment.
Further, the resolution requests that WHO develop a report on sepsis and guidance for its prevention and management. In addition, the resolution directs the Organization to help countries develop the necessary infrastructure, laboratory capacity, strategies and tools to reduce the burden of sepsis. It also asks WHO to work with partners to help developing countries gain access to quality, safe, efficacious and affordable sepsis treatments and tools for infection prevention and control, including immunization.