WHO Health Emergencies Programme

Japan and Singapore pass a key milestone on the path to Health Security

National and international experts review Singapore’s laboratory capacity as part of the country’s Joint External Evaluation.

15 May 2018 – Japan and Singapore are the first two countries in the Western Pacific Region in 2018 to conduct a Joint External Evaluation (JEE) of their core capacities under the International Health Regulations (2005) or IHR (2005). IHR (2005) is a global legal framework outlining the capacities that countries require to protect their citizens, and the citizens of neighbouring countries, during outbreaks and public health emergencies.

In March (Japan) and April (Singapore), specialists in areas including disease surveillance, outbreak response and emergency preparedness worked with government officials, experts and partners of the host government to take stock of the progress made and to identify areas for further improvement.

“I commend Japan and Singapore on volunteering for Joint External Evaluations and for their strong and long-lasting commitment to health security,” said Dr Li Ailan, Regional Emergency Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme in the Western Pacific.

“Someday soon we will be challenged with another pandemic threat,” continued Dr Li. “Such threats are inevitable, but wide-scale disaster is preventable. Even developed countries like Japan and Singapore continue to make further investments in health emergency preparedness.”

Completing a JEE catalyses further progress towards a safer, more secure Western Pacific Region where people are protected from outbreaks and other health threats. However, it is just one step in the process.

The broader approach to regional health security is guided by the Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases and Public Health Emergencies (APSED III). This strategic framework helps countries to improve their health emergency preparedness and meet their obligations under IHR (2005).

Other countries that have conducted a JEE in the Western Pacific Region are Australia, Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mongolia, the Republic of Korea and Viet Nam.

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