Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Health Minister welcomes new Int'l Regulations

24 May 2005

Health Minister welcomes new International Health Regulations

New International Health Regulations adopted by the World Health Organisation mark a significant step forward in strengthening the world's collective defences against any potential global health threat, says Health Minister Annette King.

The regulations will come into force for the 192 WHO member countries in 2007. They form the main international legal framework for preventing and controlling the spread of disease, and addressing the threat of other potential sources of harm such as chemical or radiological hazards.

The existing regulations date back to 1969. The new regulations were finalised at negotiations in Geneva last week, and were adopted by the World Health Assembly on Monday (23 May).

"Major changes in travel and trade across borders, as well as developments in communication technology, have taken place in the past 35 years," said Mrs King. "This has given rise to new health challenges that make the existing regulations well out of date."

The new regulations have been under development since 1995. Proposals were further revised as a result of experience gained during the 2003 SARS outbreak and more recent avian flu alerts.

Ms King said such events reinforced the need for coordinated international action and cooperation.

"To be effective, public health action needs to be applied widely, consistently and in a timely manner. The revised International Health Regulations explicitly provide for these objectives," she said.

"New Zealand wholeheartedly supports the revised regulations and has been involved in their development. It's a huge step in the right direction."

The regulations require all member countries to have procedures in place to detect, assess and respond to events that have public health significance at a "day to day" control level, said Ms King. This would see a strengthening in routine procedures to deal with events such as localised communicable disease outbreaks.

Where events are detected that could have international significance, member countries would be required to notify the WHO. The WHO would then coordinate an international response, she said.

The previous regulations dealt with specific health hazards such as cholera and yellow fever. The new framework takes an all-risks approach.

"By following the procedures set out in the revised International Health Regulations, New Zealand will also gain protection against excessive international reactions to localised events that have low risk of international spread. They will also help avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic," she said.

BACKGROUND

The World Health Assembly is the United Nations health agency's policy-making body.

The World Health Assembly adopted (on 23 May) a new set of regulations governing responses from Governments and international bodies.
The new regulations are called the International Health Regulations 2005 and they replace regulations last agreed in 1969 designed to monitor and control six serious infectious diseases - cholera, plague, yellow fever, and to a lesser extent, smallpox, relapsing fever and typhus.

The new regulations, negotiated over several years, include such diseases as polio and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and they require Governments to notify WHO of their occurrence.

The regulations are scheduled to come into effect in two years (2007) for the 192 members of the World Health Assembly, including New Zealand.
The regulations also now include a decision instrument or algorithm for countries to decide whether any other event constitutes a public health event of international concern.

Governments must decide if an outbreak or other event is serious, unusual, or unexpected, measure the risk of international spread and determine whether to impose international travel or trade restrictions.

Countries also have to assess their own capacity to identify, verify and control public health events and upgrade those capacities within a fixed timeframe.

The regulations provide the World Health Organisation with new, clearly defined roles and responsibilities to help countries to respond to all events of public health significance.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:

Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news