WHO Meeting of National Influenza Centres

17–19 July 2017, Geneva, Switzerland

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS). The GISRS is a network of 152 WHO-recognized national influenza centres (NICs) in 113 countries, 6 WHO collaborating centres for influenza, 4 WHO essential regulatory laboratories and 13 WHO H5 reference laboratories.

Long before influenza became a public health priority for many countries, the GISRS was fully functioning to monitor the evolution of the influenza virus, accumulate knowledge and understanding of influenza epidemiology, and recommend viruses for inclusion in both pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccines.

Since the re-emergence of avian influenza A(H5N1) in 2003 and the more recent pandemic in 2009, the GISRS has been playing an increasingly important role in detecting emerging novel influenza viruses, assessing associated risks and recommending corresponding risk management measures. This is in addition to supporting seasonal influenza surveillance and response.
The last global NIC meeting in Tunisia in 2010 served to improve the understanding of the impact of the 2009 pandemic on the functioning of the network. Since then, annual regional influenza surveillance meetings have served to review and strengthen influenza surveillance capacities to meet local and regional needs.

The objective of the July meeting is to strengthen GISRS capacity within countries and regions, and to continue fostering a robust global system. Participants will:

  • assess GISRS capacities in influenza surveillance, preparedness and response;
  • review and discuss global influenza strategies;
  • strategize a GISRS development plan; and
  • discuss and endorse the GISRS governance structure in the context of evolving international needs.