Pandemic emergency

Pandemic emergency

Context: The World Health Assembly defines “pandemic emergency”.


• Member countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) have adopted crucial amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR) at the recently concluded 77th World Health Assembly.

• These alterations include defining a “pandemic emergency” as well as pledging improved access to medical products and financing.

• The pandemic emergency definition represents a higher level of alarm and builds on the IHR’s existing mechanisms, such as the
determination of a public health emergency of international concern.

• It will improve countries’ ability to detect and respond to future outbreaks, strengthen national capacities and improve global coordination on disease surveillance, information sharing and response.

• Another significant change was the enhancement of national capacity. The changes are designed to improve individual countries’ ability to detect and respond to future outbreaks.

• Further, the WHO emphasised that health threats transcend national borders.

• The members also decided to extend the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body’s mandate, which was established in December 2021.

• Now, the Pandemic Agreement can be finalised by the World Health Assembly in 2025 or earlier, if possible, at a special session in 2024.

Pandemic emergency definition

• Pandemic emergency is a communicable disease that has or is at high risk of :
• Having wide geographical spread to and within multiple States,
• Exceeding the capacity of health systems to respond in those States;
• Having social and/or economic disruption, including disruption to international traffic and trade;
• It requires rapid, equitable, and enhanced coordinated international action with whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches.

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