Workshop on Health Systems for Health Security (HSforHS)

On Thursday 20 and Friday 21 May 2021, World Health Organisation (WHO) and the University of Leeds co-hosted a virtual workshop on Health Systems for Health Security (HSforHS).

Day one of the workshop was an open event, which gathered 465 public health experts from countries, WHO, partner agencies, academics, as well as students from around the world. The broad reach of the event was promoted via a campaign on social media (#HsforHS).

The workshop was opened by Dr Jaouad Mahjour, Assistant Director-General of the Emergency Preparedness Division at WHO HQ and Professor Simone Buitendijk, Vice Chancellor of the University of Leeds. The first day event consisted of three informative technical presentations:  

  1. Introducing the WHO HSforHS framework (presented by Dr. Nirmal Kandel, Head of the unit Evidence and Analytics for Health Security at WHO HQ) 
  2. Current Research on HSforHS (presented by Professor Garrett W. Brown of the University of Leeds and Dr Jessica Martini of the Université libre de Bruxelles)
  3. HSforHS experiences in country settings based on lessons learned from Covid-19 pandemic (with presentations from: Singapore, Finland, Thailand, Ghana, Nigeria, India, Afghanistan, Senegal and WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean).

Each of the technical sessions was followed by an open question and answer session with considerable audience participation, demonstrating a wide interest in the new HSforHS framework, its challenges, as well as best practice examples from case countries.

Given the high level of engagement, the event met its objectives to promote the HSforHS Framework while also demonstrating its importance to country experiences and wider global health policy debates.

Finally, Dr Stella Chungong, Director of Health Security Preparedness, closed out the day’s proceedings by stressing the need for greater collaboration with partner institutions to promote health security through better health system preparedness and resilience.

Day Two of the workshop was a closed meeting gathering 38 high-profile experts from WHO, partner agencies, donors, and academics. The discussions were broken into four sessions:

  1. The creation of an HSforHS network, its purpose and scope
  2. What is missing in HSforHS? (i.e. ambiguities, positives, negatives and benchmarking)
  3. The HsforHS research agenda
  4. The next steps to move forward.

The sessions were not short of insightful discussion and reflections, with partners showing great interest in the framework and associated aspects. Discussions included the update of WHO Benchmarks for Internatioanl Health Regulations (IHR) capacities, the Benchmarks Reference library, the Dynamic Preparedness Metrics, as well as the Framework for Health Security ‘Preparedness’ Research, Development and Innovation.

The Evidence and Analytics for Health Security (WHO – HQ) team and University of Leeds will continue to build on the excellent momentum generated during this two-day workshop, with the immediate aim to:

  • Establish a network of experts from countries, academia, and partner agencies that will help in taking forward the ‘Health Systems for Health Security’ framework
  • Identify potential resources to support activities for generating evidence and developing tools and material for supporting implementation of HSforHS at local, national and global levels, starting with some priority countries.

For further information please visit us: Evidence and Analytics for Health Security (EHS)