Strengthening Global Health Security: Sierra Leone Prepares State Party Annual Report (SPAR) on International Health Regulations.

Strengthening Global Health Security: Sierra Leone Prepares State Party Annual Report (SPAR) on International Health Regulations.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners, convened a two-day multi-sectorial workshop in Freetown from February 13 to 14, 2024. The purpose was to prepare the 2023 International Health Regulations (IHR) State Party Annual Report (SPAR), marking another stride in strengthening global health security in line with Member State accountability requirements.

The International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) serve as a binding agreement among 196 countries, including all WHO Member States, to fortify collective efforts in safeguarding global health. Under the IHR framework, nations commit to enhancing capacities for preventing, detecting, assessing, reporting, and responding to public health events. WHO, in tandem with its partners, assumes a pivotal role in coordinating IHR activities, aiding countries in capacity-building endeavors.

Integral to the IHR are measures implemented at ports, airports, and ground crossings to mitigate the dissemination of health risks across borders while minimizing disruptions to travel and trade. For Sierra Leone, a signatory to the IHR (2005), the journey of IHR implementation unfolds as a gradual process, necessitating the continual development and fortification of national public health capacities.

Central to this process is the submission of the State Party Self-Assessment Annual Report (SPAR Report), where countries annually apprise the World Health Assembly of their IHR capacities. To assist countries in this endeavor, WHO and other partners supported the Government of Sierra Leone in crafting the 2023 IHR State Party Report.

The workshop brought together diverse stakeholders, including government entities, international organizations such as UNICEF, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), GIZ, Break through Action, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and HEADA, among others. Together, they meticulously assessed the IHR core capacities, such as laboratory infrastructure, health services provision, points of entry, food safety, zoonotic diseases, and disease surveillance among others.

Through robust group discussions, strengths and gaps were identified, laying the groundwork for comprehensive reporting on the functionalities and capacities of Sierra Leone's public health apparatus. Armed with insights gleaned from the workshop, the country is poised to present a thorough and transparent account of its IHR achievements and challenges.

As Sierra Leone and nations worldwide continue to navigate the complex landscape of global health security, collaborative efforts such as these, underscore the collective commitment to fortifying resilience against emerging health threats. With each annual report, strides are made towards building a more robust and interconnected global health architecture, safeguarding the well-being of populations worldwide. With recent launch of the National Public Health Agency (NPHA) and earlier piloting of the Universal Health Preparedness Review UHPR), Sierra Leone is heading in the right direction.

For Additional Information or to Request Interviews, Please contact:
National Communication Officer
WHO Sierra Leone
Email: sharkahm [at]