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On 7-10 June 2011, the Ministry of Health of Turkey hosted the international training workshop, "International Health Regulations Core Capacity Tabletop Exercise Development and Public Health Management." The workshop was organized by WHO with support from the Ministry of Health of Turkey and the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA).

Over 20 countries from the WHO/Europe and WHO Eastern Mediterranean Office were represented, including Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kosovo (under 1244), Lebanon, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Serbia, Sudan, Syria and Turkey. Congo, representing the WHO Regional Office for Africa, participated as observer to repeat the training model in their region.

It is critical that all countries have the capacity to detect, assess and respond to public health events of international concern. Enhanced international health security depends on all countries’ commitment to invest effort to make necessary preparations in advance to ensure that the necessary plans and processes are in place.

The training workshop was therefore designed by WHO, mainly aimed at developing country capacities to implement and validate public health emergency response plans through tabletop exercises.

Epidemic-prone diseases made an alarming return in the last quarter of the 20th century. Emerging viral diseases have triggered major international concern. Food-borne disease outbreaks remain common in many countries. All these public health events have raised new scientific and organizational challenges.

The revised International Health Regulations (2005), a legally binding international agreement, provide the framework for improved international public health security. It represents a set of rules with defined procedures and responsibilities for WHO and States Parties. The International Health Regulations (2005) call on countries to assess and strengthen their national public health structures and, in time of a public health event which may constitute a public health emergency of international concern, to actively and collectively interact with WHO for information sharing, risk assessment, recommendation and implementation of public health measures.