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International Health Regulations - 19 March 2021

Please note that this event has passed.

The event will be hosted virtually via Microsoft Teams. Please register to receive the joining link.

Event Abstract

The International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) are supposed to provide an overarching international legal framework for countries’ rights and obligations in relation to public health risks and emergencies that have the potential to cross borders. Yet, by early 2020 it was clear that something has gone wrong with the IHR.

How well have the IHR served their purpose during the pandemic? It is clear that most countries have failed to adequately follow the IHR in their responses to the coronavirus outbreak, but what are the reasons behind governments’ poor compliance with the requirements of the IHR? What are the particular issues that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought out? And what can we expect of the review of the IHR currently underway?

In this session we look at the legal meaning, obligations and adequacy of the IHR in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as how the IHR can be strengthened to help improve the global response to future public health events. We will also look at countries’ failure to comply with the IHR with a particular focus on the inadequate effort to develop key prevention capacities.

Event Speakers

Dr. Cheluchi Onyemelukwe is a health lawyer with almost 20 years of experience. She is Associate Professor of Health Law at Babcock University, Nigeria where she teaches public health law, regulation and governance, and human rights courses at undergraduate and graduate levels. She is also Partner at Health Ethics and Law Consulting.

Her global health work has included work on IHR implementation, legal and policy aspects of the Joint External Evaluation (JEE) framework, development of assessment tools frameworks for assessment of national legislation compliance with IHR and WHO guidelines, the Integrated Disease Surveillance Response and its impacts on migrants etc., She has alo undertaken work in health systems analysis and health policy. Her ongoing analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic, legal preparedness, response and human rights impacts on resource-poor countries have appeared on Harvard’s Bill of Health Blog, the Global Health Law Blog at Groningen University, and is forthcoming in academic journals. She is particularly interested in the impacts of global health law on developing countries, particularly African countries. She is the author of Health Research Governance in Africa: Law, Regulation and Ethics (Routledge, 2018). She holds a doctorate degree in Law from Dalhousie University, Canada and a First Class degree in Law from the University of Nigeria.

Dr Clare Wenham is Assistant Professor of Global Health Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is the Director of the MSc in Global Health Policy and sits on the steering committee of the LSE Global Health Initiative. She previously worked at the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, delivering a series of projects relating to surveillance and transmission of infectious disease. She has a PhD in International Relations at and has advised and/or consulted for UN Women, European Parliament, UNFPA, Asian Development Bank, and UK Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology. Clare’s research examines global health security and global health governance from a political and policy perspective. Her recent research has analysed COVID-19, Zika, Ebola, and more broadly, on the governance structures of the global health landscape and global disease control. Within this, she has a particular interest on the downstream effects of global health security policy on women.

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