Accra, March 18, GNA- Madam Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Health, has inaugurated a 30-member steering committee on International Health Regulations (IHR) to help in the implementation of IHR 2005 in Ghana.
Members of the committee would serve to provide the IHR Focal Point and stakeholders with guidance, oversight and decision-making regarding the expected core functions of public health event detection, notification, investigations and response.
The committee members are appointed to serve on behalf of their institutions, not as individuals and are to engage in activities related to the IHR 2005.
Members are to among other things, provide guidance, coordination, risk assessment using the decision-making instrument, sharing information and responding to public health events.
They are to establish, operate and maintain a national public health emergency response plan, as well as supervise the implementation of the IHR Action Plan used to seek extension for achieving core capacities by June 2014.
Madam Ayittey said: “Health safety at the entry points into the country is … the concern of all of us and we want to ensure that health safety standards are maintained at all times to ensure a healthy nation.”
According to her, the purpose and scope of the regulations are to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease in ways that are commensurate with and restricted to public health risks.
The Minister noted that in pursuance of IHR, it is important to avoid the unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.
“This certainly calls for the involvement of all relevant stakeholders,” she said.
Madam Ayittey said the IHR 2005 came into force on 15th June 2007 and member states had up to five years to fully develop their core capacities to implement the regulations.
“Ghana conducted its core capacity assessment in August 2011 and had to request in May 2012 for an extension of the timeline for the development of core capacities to June 2014”
She said one of the main gaps identified during the assessment was in the area of coordination and national focal point communications, “hence the need for this multisectoral Steering Committee to help address the potential health hazards”.
The current IHR was adopted by the 48th World Health Assembly on 23 May 2005 and Ghana was one of the member states that was signatory to it.