WHO/Europe organized a workshop on 6–8 June 2016, continuing its efforts to support the process of building capacities for crisis preparedness and response, and implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR (2005) in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The 30 participants included hygiene, social medicine and epidemiology health specialists from the Institute of Public Health and regional public health centres, and representatives of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases, the Crisis Management Centre, the Directorate for Protection and Rescue, the Food and Veterinary Agency, the Ministry of Health, the United Nations Population Fund and the WHO Country Office.

The workshop was divided into 3 parts:

  • discussion and revision of the national protocols – including for biological, chemical and ionizing radiation risks, and points of entry – for implementation of the IHR (2005);
  • finalization of the operational aspects of the national crisis preparedness and response plan; and
  • a tabletop exercise on implementing Annex 2 of the IHR (2005) and the national health response for a simulation of flood scenarios.

Based on the simulation, participants developed an additional operational protocol for a national health response to floods that will be included as part of the annexes of the national crisis preparedness and response plan.

The workshop ensured an inclusive process to finalize these documents, by creating synergies between relevant institutions and sectors responsible for IHR (2005) implementation and crisis preparedness and response. Through group discussions, national experts defined the actions and responsibilities that will be part of the IHR protocols and the preparedness and response plan, and agreed on further steps to finalize this process.