The Report of the Review Committee on the Functioning of the International Health Regulations (2005) during the COVID-19 response was the outcome of a September 2021 meeting, in which the WHO convened a group of 20 global experts to assess how the International Health Regulations (IHR) functioned during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The experts identified gaps in countries implementation of the IHR, which sets reporting and preparedness requirements for countries, as well as gaps in the IHR itself. Their 40 recommendations on how to improve the IHR to prevent the next public health emergency are outlined in this document.
This report comes out 10 years after the first Review Committee of the IHR reported on how the IHR functioned during the H1N1 public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) in 2009-2010. The first report concluded that the world was ill prepared to respond to future PHEICs, and based on the committee's recommendations, subsequent public health efforts were directed towards strengthening health systems and building capacities at the national, regional and global levels to prevent, detect and respond to health emergencies. However, many of these systems were insufficient to combat COVID-19. This report reflects upon the shortcomings of global public health and proposes a path forward for integrating public health within the health sector and across the whole of government, so national and global systems can be brought together to combat new emerging threats.