Delegation from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia visits Germany to study implementation of the International Health Regulations

Mihail Kochubovski

During a study visit to Germany on 16–19 October 2013, a delegation from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia exchanged experiences and challenges with the host country on building the surveillance and response capacities required for implementation of International Health Regulations 2005 (IHR 2005). Specific topics addressed included:

  • political, technical and managerial arrangements for IHR implementation;
  • management of biological, chemical and radiological risks;
  • establishment of designated points of entry.

The tour was organized as part of ongoing technical support provided by WHO/Europe to help strengthen country capacities for implementation of IHR 2005. The tour was made possible with support from the Ministry of Health of Germany and the Robert Koch Institute.

Key lessons learnt included the understanding that the process of building and sustaining surveillance and response capacities for IHR implementation requires:

  • extensive use of the existing resources in the country; and 
  • development of a good national plan for IHR implementation, with clearly established communication channels, protocols and standard operational procedures.

Representatives of national health authorities in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia were able to see a good practical example of the IHR implementation process, which will be used as a reference during implementation of future IHR-related activities in the country.