The World Health Organisation, the International Health Regulations, ebola and other pandemics: seminar announcement

The International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) are the primary global instrument for responding to, and seeking to prevent and limit the impact of public health emergencies of international concern, including communicable diseases with pandemic potential. The International Health Regulations are legally binding on all World Health Organization (WHO) Member States, including Australia.  The IHR were revised following the SARS outbreak in 2003.

Over the past decade, the world has faced a number of significant health events, including H1N1 pandemic influenza in 2009, the 2014–2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and the 2018 Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each of these events has tested the utility and function of the revised IHR.

In this seminar, a panel of leading experts in public health law and global health security will examine whether the International Health Regulations are meeting their goal of protecting public health, international trade, and human rights, and whether the obligations in the IHR are sufficiently robust to respond to ever more complex public health emergencies.

The speakers are:

Dr Mark Eccleston-Turner, Lecturer in Law, Keele University

Title: The WHO response to Ebola in the DRC: a critical analysis of the legal application of the International Health Regulations

Dr. Alexandra Phelan, Centre for Global Health Science and Security, Georgetown University; Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University Law Center

Title: Human Rights under the International Health Regulations in an era of nationalism: laws in Australia and the United States

Dr. Sara Davies, A/Professor in International Relations, School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University

Title: The Politics of Implementing the International Health Regulations

Venue: Sydney Law School, Monday 17 June, 6.00-7.30pm.

This free event is a side-event to the first Global Health Security Conference in Sydney, Australia held from 18 – 21 June 2019.

You can register to attend this event here.

For more background on the speakers, click here.

Advancing global and national health security: lessons from SARS and MERS to Ebola and Zika

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Public seminar announcement

Over the past decade, the world has faced a series of global health crises involving contagious diseases with pandemic potential.

From novel influenzas (H5N1 and H1N1), coronaviruses (SARS, and MERS) to the Ebola and Zika viruses, governments and international organisations have struggled to act quickly and decisively.

The consequences loom large in both economic and human terms.  Modelling by the Institute of Medicine suggests that the economic costs of a 21st-century pandemic could exceed USD$60 billion annually, placing pandemic disease in a category similar to war, terrorism and financial crises.

Despite this, global investments in risk mitigation frameworks for pandemic disease remain inadequate and leave countries exposed to significant disruption, financial harm, and avoidable mortality.

Professor Lawrence Gostin, the Linda and Timothy O’Neill Professor of Global Health Law, Georgetown University, Washington DC, has served on two high-level commissions inquiring into the lessons learned from the 2015 West Africa Ebola epidemic.  These are the Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework (National Academy of Sciences, supported by WHO, World Bank, Gates Foundation, and Rockefeller Foundation), and the Independent Panel on the Global Response to Ebola (Harvard University/London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine).

Professor Gostin and colleagues will speak on global and national legal frameworks for responding to contagious epidemics at Sydney Law School on Wed 20 July, 6.00-7.30pm.  Click here for further details.

In this seminar, Professor Gostin will reflect on lessons learned from the several expert commissions into the Ebola epidemic and global health risk framework.  This will be followed by short responses from three Australian experts in the field.

In his keynote presentation, Professor Gostin will argue that the lessons from past epidemics point to three key drivers of change: national health systems, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UN System reform, and accelerated research and development.

ach of these drivers of change requires system-wide accountability mechanisms to improve their performance and to reduce the human and economic cost of future epidemics.

To book online for this seminar, click here.

Are you interested in studying health law?  Sydney Law School offers a Graduate Diploma and a Masters degree in health law that is open to qualified applicants.  For further details, click here, and here.