Four countries to benefit from Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework


(From left) Leen Meulenberg, Manager of Strategic Partnerships, Zsuzsanna Jakab, Regional Director, and Caroline Brown, Manager of Influenza and other Respiratory pathogens, WHO/Europe at high-level meeting with ministries of PIP-eligible countries, July 2014

Armenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan will be the first countries in the WHO European Region to benefit from the PIP Framework, a unique partnership between industry, civil society and governments to improve pandemic preparedness and access to antiviral medicines and vaccines. Member States are responsible for sharing with WHO influenza viruses with pandemic potential through their national influenza centres, and industry’s responsibilities include making annual donations to the partnership contribution mechanism.

WHO/Europe meeting to implement PIP Framework

WHO/Europe launched plans to implement the PIP Framework at a meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark on 8–10 July 2014.

“We are here today because we all agree that pandemic preparedness is important. We don’t know when and where the next pandemic will emerge, but we know that, after the last pandemic in 2009, the [International Health Regulations (IHR)] Review Committee concluded that ‘the world is ill prepared to respond to a severe pandemic’. We have a unique opportunity to improve: to strengthen capacities at the national level and achieve well functioning and sustainable systems so that we can better detect, assess and respond to emerging viruses,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, in opening the meeting. During her speech, the Regional Director also emphasized the need for high-level commitment to the PIP Framework and the importance of the work of national PIP focal points, who facilitate the implementation of activities.

The 35 participants included high-level representatives and national focal points from Armenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan; surveillance and laboratory experts; and staff of WHO country offices and WHO/Europe. They were briefed about the PIP Framework, whose objective is to enhance pandemic preparedness by:

  • improving the sharing of influenza viruses with human pandemic potential with WHO collaborating centres for reference and research on influenza; and
  • increasing global access to pandemic vaccines, antiviral medicines and other pandemic-related supplies.

Then experts from the four participating countries worked with WHO staff to make detailed implementation plans for each. The first PIP missions, to strengthen the countries’ surveillance systems, are scheduled to take place in a few months.