Strengthening International Health Regulations (IHR) implementation for serious cross-border health threats in the SHARP Joint Action partner countries through cross-sectoral, basic and advanced training.
Why the work of SHARP Joint Action work package (WP) 8 is important
Insufficient human resources is a major obstacle in IHR implementation. At the outset of SHARP JA the human resources capacity in the WHO Euro region had decreased in the recent years.
Sophisticated IHR plans, regulations and standard operating procedures (SOPs) cannot be implemented, unless qualified and trained staff are available to fulfil this task.
- Improved levels of IHR capacities to prevent, prepare, detect and respond to cross-border threats to health
- Practices related to IHR capacity building exchanged with a special emphasis on strengthening the capacities of countries with GNI less than 90% of EU average
WP8 Activities, Outputs, Deliverables
|12 – 13 November 2019 the WP8 kickoff meeting, hosted by the Institute of Public Health of Serbia (IPHS) in Belgrade.
More than 30 participants from 13 countries plus representatives of WHO and ECDC came together to discuss plans and best ways to implement activities. The meeting was a great opportunity for experts to meet and share their experiences in the IHR (2005) implementation. Read more about the WP8 kickoff meeting.
|01 January 2021 Report on IHR (2005) training needs (D8.1)
A desk review of available documents provided an assessment of cross-sectoral training needs of the SHARP JA partner countries. This identifies further training needs on topics related to preparedness and IHR. Read Work Package 8 report on training needs.
Publicly available data sources included
· progress reports on preparedness and response planning under decision 1082/2013/EU (art. 4)
· an ECDC report on capacity and training needs assessment
· mission reports from WHO Joint External Evaluations (JEE) IHR State Party Self-Assessment Annual Reports (SPAR)
|29 April 2021 A tabletop exercise on infodemic explored the themes and key strategy areas set out in the WHO EU COVID-19 Fatigue framework.
Read more about the Tackling COVID-19 Fatigue webinar.
|9 and 10 June 2021 In(tra)-Action Review Training
The RKI prepared and implemented a training entitled “In(tra)-Action Reviews (IAR) in an Online Setting” together with WHO Euro, ECDC and IPHS. The training was held on June 9 and 10, 2021 as 3-hour-online-session.
Targeted at public health professionals at the operational level interested in conducting an IAR on the COVID-19 response or other public health events. The training familiarised participants with the scope and goals of IARs and their implementation in a virtual setting, drawing upon resources provided by WHO and ECDC. In total, 37 participants from 16 countries attended the training.
|7 July 2021 Risk Communication Exercise
The National Institute of Public Health Slovenia (supported by ECDC; Work Package 2 lead – Public Health Wales; IPHS and RKI) conducted an online “Risk Communication Exercise” focused on risk communication during a vaccine rollout.
During the 2-hour session, participants had the opportunity to increase their knowledge of criteria for good communication messaging, improve communication skills, exchange their experiences and learn from each other.
Read more on the 5 key principles for Risk Communication.
|June 2020 to March 2022 IHR (2005) Basic Online Training 2020 – 2021 (D8.3)
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) prepared and implemented an IHR (2005) Basic Online Training, supported by WHO Euro. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was held as an online training, separated in five 2-hour sessions.
The training aimed to provide basic IHR (2005) knowledge for public health professionals at junior or mid-career level actively involved in the implementation of IHR (2005) core capacities and was organized in 5 modules. In total, 60 people from 21 countries took part in at least one of the five modules of the training.
February and March 2022 IHR (2005) Basic Online Training 2022 (D8.3)
Following the success of the previous IHR (2005) Basic Online Training, the training was repeated with a similar agenda. In total, 32 people from 14 European countries took part in this second round of the IHR (2005) Basic Online Training.
In total, 88 professionals from more than 20 European countries have attended the IHR (2005) Basic Online Trainings during the Joint Action.
Read more on WP8 efforts on strengthening preparedness for serious cross-border health threats.
|October 2021 Inventory of IHR-related training activities and materials (Task 8.1.2)
An inventory of existing IHR-related training activities and materials was initiated in July 2020 by Instituto de Salud Carlos III; ISCIII – the Spanish Institute of Public Health.
The document provides information on existing IHR-related training activities and materials from different institutions and organizations. The inventory gives an overview of each trainings’ objectives, duration and available languages.
4 November 2021 SHARP JA partners met to discuss and exchange on the progress of the WP8 (MS29). Representatives of the WHO Euro and ECDC and other WPs coordinators attended the meeting and contributed with the valuable inputs.
|31 March 2022 Advanced training curricula (D8.3)
Advanced chemical training and exercise prepared in collaboration with WP9 Chemical safety and chemical threats. Read more about WP9.
|2 – 4 June 2022 Advanced trainings (MS27)
In collaboration with WP9 training on chemical safety and chemical threats delivered to 35 participants across 13 member states. Read more about WP9.
8 June 2022 Advanced workshop on in(tra)-action reviews (IAR) and after-action reviews (AAR) built on available IAR/AAR e-learning from ECDC and WHO gave participants the opportunity to consolidate and expand their knowledge through concrete practical exercises and exchange with colleagues. Read more on the Training on Intra-action reviews training.
17 June 2022, National table top exercise “ERMIS”, Kalamata, Greece aimed to improve planning and implementing practices using a scenario of for control of the spread of transboundary diseases. 72 participants considered the procedures they should follow, and which agencies they should contact in order to achieve the best response to a similar event. Read the ERMIS TTX report (Word doc 171KB).
EODY achieved coverage in 19 news outlets and the news conference attracted 83 views (PDF. 254KB)
03 and 04 October 2022 Work Package 8 Partnership Meeting, Lisbon Portugal and Online (MS29)
All SHARP Joint Action partners were invited to the third, regular meeting for important information on the progress made and current plans for
cross sectoral, all hazards preparedness training, local exercises and exchange of working practices. 49 professionals, from across 18 member states enjoyed an agenda (PDF 230KB) which included the well-received presentation on the new online platform for training by
Vesna Karadzic, IPHS, Serbia.
9-12 November 2022 WP8 presented a poster abstract on Strengths and weaknesses in the implementation of the IHR (2005) in low GNI countries at The 15th European Public Health Conference – Strengthening health systems: improving population health and being prepared for the unexpected, hub27 Berlin, Germany. This was visible to over 2,600 public health professionals registered for the conference; and was published in European Journal of Public Health, Volume 32, Issue Supplement_3, October 2022, ckac131.577. The work package also presented at the SHARP JA Lunch Symposium that took place at the Conference.
15 November 2022 All SHARP partner organisations received an email flyer promoting opportunities for Secondments to high GNI-countries. WP8 is facilitating useful learning experiences through placements of SHARP partner staff from low GNI states to WHO, ECDC or high GNI-partner countries.
24 November 2022, WP8 Lead: Institute of Public Health of Serbia, “Dr Milan Jovanovic Batut” facilitated SHARP presentations at the National congress of physicians, Belgrade.
23-25 November 2022, WP8 successfully presented an online poster on ‘Strengthening health care professionals’ competencies on International Health Regulations (2005) during the COVID-19 pandemic’ at ESCAIDE (European Scientific Conference on Applied Infectious Disease Epidemiology) Stockholm and online. There were 2400 online participants and 600 in-person participants attending the venue across the three days.
8 – 9 December 2022 International tabletop exercise on Points of entry: Contact tracing, control measures and cross-sectoral collaboration (Task 8.3.1.), Athens and Online. 118 people registered from 24 countries. Dissemination activity was strongly supported by the host organisation, EODY – the National Public Health Organization, Greece. The press release was covered by 29 news outlets, complemented by social posts on SHARP (10) and EODY (9) owned social channels. Download the Final report of the International Tabletop Exercise Points of Entry Athens 08 – 09 December 2022, including links to the materials.
9 December 2022, the call is published for up to 3 individuals from low GNI countries to attend a fully funded, two-day study visit of the DG Sante Health Security Unit. Read more.
29 March 2023 and 6 April 2023, Two 1-day training sessions were delivered on “Digital Public Health Tools Related To Sea Ships And Point Of Entry”. Hosted by EODY in collaboration with EU Healthy Gateways Joint Action, EU SHIPSAN ACT Joint Action. The Eastern Macedonia & Thrace Regional Unit and the Region of Evros and Kavala session was held on 29 March in Alexandroupoli; followed by a dedicated session for the Region of Ionian Islands in Corfu on 6 April. Forty-three maritime-related professionals participated (either online, or in person) in the sessions which comprised an overview of JA SHARP and its objectives to strengthen the capabilities of the implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR), and an update on the new EU regulations for cross border threats. Experts from the University of Thessaly then led instruction and practice on the digital tools designed to mitigate infection transmission among travellers and staff on ships, seaports, and inland ports. Most attendees welcomed to opportunity of increasing their level of knowledge and planned to apply the skills acquired to their daily work practice. The event was promoted on the Website NPHO and social media posts on the two events achieved 1119 impressions. View the event reports: Corfu (PDF, 260KB) and Alexandroupoli (PDF, 261KB)
A literature review of recovery from different disasters for developing future trainings.
An earlier training needs assessment pointed out that recovery management is one of the topics of great interest for training and practice exchange. This study aimed to explore existing practices in recovery management to set up the scope of recovery management training.
Global capacities for Implementation of International Health Regulations
Expanding on the earlier analysis that assessed the capacities of SHARP Joint Action participating countries to implement IHR. This work shows the regional differences in IHR capacities. The SPAR results of countries’ IHR capacities self-assessments indicate some improvements during pandemic in countries with the lowest capacities. However, there is still room for IHR capacities improvement in all WHO regions.
An overview of Strengthening IHR implementation for serious cross-border health threats in the SHARP Joint Action partner countries through cross-sectoral basic and advanced trainings featured in the SHARP Joint Action workshop.
11 September 2023, A SHARP Joint Action one-day seminar on the European Common Ship Sanitation Database – the digital tool for supporting International Health Regulations implementation at Points of Entry took place in Athens. Organised by the National Organization of Public Health, Greece (EODY) and the University of Thessaly. Over 100 professionals involved in management of public health events and IHR Ship Sanitation Certificates for the maritime transport sector benefited from the session. The training was opened by Mrs. F. Kalyva, General Secretary of Public Health, Ministry of Health, and delivered by experts including Prof. C. Chadzihristodoulou, University of Thessaly, and Dr. Ninglan Wang, Head of Border Health Risk Dissemination unit in Country Readiness Strengthening department, World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergency Program. Read more
30 September 2023, Serbian Journal of Public Health Volume 97 Number 3 dedicated to the SHARP JA. Includes a case study introducing the key principles within the Blueprint for effective programme communications for future EU Health Policy joint actions. Plus, an article by the Robert Koch Institute which reflects on training public health professionals on intra- and after-action reviews during the Covid-19 pandemic. It concludes how high-quality interactive online trainings can contribute to capacity building and facilitate the exchange of good practices that benefit all countries and institutions involved. These papers, alongside other peer reviewed content aimed to improve research, policies, practice and education in the broad field of public health, both in Serbia and internationally. To access and download this open access journal https://serbjph.batut.org.rs/resources/broj807.pdf. To keep up to date with this publication, follow https://www.linkedin.com/company/serbian-journal-of-public-health.
Online platform for SHARP Joint Action training materials (MS28) includes guidance for conducting online training sessions and templates. It is hosted by SHARP partner, Institute of Public Health of Serbia, “Dr Milan Jovanovic Batut” through an online portal that provides a range of valuable training resources developed during the joint action. Simply, register for an account at SHARP JA Training Platform (batut.org.rs) to access. You will find other materials on Public health emergency detection and surveillance; Chemicals threats; Risk Communication; IHR Basic Training; IAR/AAR; SimEx, etc.
10 October 2023, a tabletop exercise (TTX) for zoonosis disease is made available for countries to employ to evaluate and improve preparedness and response plans. Created and trialled by work package 6 in September 2023 to enhance awareness on which sectors are currently involved and which should be involved in the initial period of public health emergency response (M23). It’s designed to inspire public health professionals to think about multisectoral collaboration in their existing national, (in)formal preparedness and response plans. The handbook can be accessed here.
31 October 2023, An inventory of International Health Regulations (IHR) related training activities and materials covering different areas such as: points of entry, risk communication, chemical events, biosafety and biosecurity, national health emergency framework, surveillance, human resources, preparedness and response, risk assessment, antimicrobial resistance, case management capacity for IHR relevant hazards and pathogen genomics/whole genome sequencing use for outbreak investigations.
The inventory captures:
- Training courses
- Simulations exercises
Basic and advanced training curricula (D8.3) report outlines how the specific objective to strengthen IHR implementation for serious cross-border health threats in the JA partner countries through cross-sectoral basic and advanced trainings was met.
D8.2 Final Training Report (PDF 3.516 KB) provides an overview over the training activities conducted within WP8.
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Work Package 8 partners and people
WP8 Lead: Institute of Public Health of Serbia, “Dr Milan Jovanovic Batut”
IPHS – Institute of Public Health, Republic of Serbia “Dr Milan Jovanović Batut” provides advice, expertise, support and guidance for the Serbian government and all public health institutions in all aspects of public health. The activities of the Institute are focused on fulfillment of public interest by developing conditions for the sustainable health and wellbeing through comprehensive activities of the society, to preserve physical and mental health, to protect environment and to prevent and control diseases, risk factors and injuries. It conducts independent research on issues of public health concern in Serbia.
Importantly, the Institute of Public Health of Serbia is National Focal Point (NFP) for IHR and one of its main tasks is related to coordination of preparedness and response of the health system to public health emergencies, performing together with a network of 24 district public health institutes. E: email@example.com
WP8 Co-lead: Robert Koch Institute
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) is the German national public health institute within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Health. Among other tasks, the RKI is responsible for nationwide health monitoring and the prevention and detection of infectious diseases. Its scientists conduct research in infectious disease epidemiology as well as sentinel surveillance projects and support the federal states in outbreak investigations. In respect of the IHR (2005) the RKI is the responsible authority for assessing biological threats, whereas the German Joint Information and Situation Centre (GMLZ) is the National IHR Focal Point in Germany. E: firstname.lastname@example.org
WP8 Core team of lead partners
Dr Verica Jovanovic, PhD, Associate Professor, Specialist in Social Medicine, Master in Health Management, Acting Director of the Institute of Public Health of Serbia, WHO National focal point for IHR, more than 20 years of extensive experience in Public Health and Project Management.
Dr Milena Vasic, PhD, Associate Professor, Specialist in Social Medicine, Master in Health Management, Head of Department for International Cooperation and Project Management. More than 25 years of extensive experience in Project Management, Public Health capacity building and Human Resources Planning and Development.
Dr Biljana Kilibarda, PhD, specialist in social medicine, public health expert with 20 years of experience in health promotion. She participated in numerous national and international projects/ programs and contributed to the development of different strategic documents in public health field.
Dr Maria an der Heiden (DVM), Deputy head of Unit for Crisis Management, Outbreak Investigations and Training Programmes, Focal Point for the Public Health Service, Department for Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Robert Koch Institute. Long-term experience in, e.g., IHR implementation, IHR National Focal Point activities, early warning and response systems, crisis management, simulation exercises, and preparedness and response.
Janina Schafer, Research associate at Unit for Crisis Management, Outbreak Investigations and Training Programmes, Focal Point for the Public Health Service, Department for Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Robert Koch Institute, Germany.
Monica Sane-Schepisi, MD at Ministry of Health, Italy
Carmen Varela Martínez, Centro Nacional de Epidemiología, Instituto de Salud Carlos III
Daniele Mipatrini, Public Health Consultant at Ministry of Health, Italy
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