World Health Assembly Leaders Debate Amendments to IHR Proposed by US

May 25, 2022 by Alexa Hornbeck
World Health Assembly Leaders Debate Amendments to IHR Proposed by US
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), centre, celebrates his reelection, during the 75th World Health Assembly at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

Members of the World Health Organization gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sunday for the 75th World Health Assembly, which was held in person for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

WHO members discussed proposed amendments to the International Health Regulations, which is a legal agreement between 196 countries to build the capacity to detect and report potential public health emergencies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

In April, the U.S. proposed amendments to the IHR, such as requesting more assistance from member states for detection and reporting of public health emergencies to strengthen the WHO’s notifications and investigations into outbreaks. 

The proposed amendments from the U.S. would involve giving countries impacted by an outbreak 48 hours to accept or decline assistance offered by the WHO, and those that decline would have to immediately share information about the exchange with member states. 

Talk of amending the IHR is not expected to lead to any current changes in policy either globally or domestically, as there is no enforcement mechanism to make countries comply. 

During the assembly, WHO member states also reelected Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to serve a second five-year term as director-general of the world’s leading public health agency. Tedros was elected to the position in 2017.

Alexa can be reached at [email protected]

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