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BMC Public Health. 2010 Dec 3;10 Suppl 1:S9. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-10-S1-S9.

Assessment of core capacities for the International Health Regulations (IHR[2005])--Uganda, 2009.

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Ministry of Health, Kampala, Uganda.



Uganda is currently implementing the International Health Regulations (IHR[2005]) within the context of Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR). The IHR(2005) require countries to assess the ability of their national structures, capacities, and resources to meet the minimum requirements for surveillance and response. This report describes the results of the assessment undertaken in Uganda.


We conducted a descriptive cross-sectional assessment using the protocol developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The data collection tools were adapted locally and administered to a convenience sample of HR(2005) stakeholders, and frequency analyses were performed.


Ugandan national laws relevant to the IHR(2005) existed, but they did not adequately support the full implementation of the IHR(2005). Correspondingly, there was a designated IHR National Focal Point (NFP), but surveillance activities and operational communications were limited to the health sector. All the districts (13/13) had designated disease surveillance offices, most had IDSR technical guidelines (92%, or 12/13), and all (13/13) had case definitions for infectious and zoonotic diseases surveillance. Surveillance guidelines were available at 57% (35/61) of the health facilities, while case definitions were available at 66% (40/61) of the health facilities. The priority diseases list, surveillance guidelines, case definitions and reporting tools were based on the IDSR strategy and hence lacked information on the IHR(2005). The rapid response teams at national and district levels lacked food safety, chemical and radio-nuclear experts. Similarly, there were no guidelines on the outbreak response to food, chemical and radio-nuclear hazards. Comprehensive preparedness plans incorporating IHR(2005) were lacking at national and district levels. A national laboratory policy existed and the strategic plan was being drafted. However, there were critical gaps hampering the efficient functioning of the national laboratory network. Finally, the points of entry for IHR(2005) implementation had not been designated.


The assessment highlighted critical gaps to guide the IHR(2005) planning process. The IHR(2005) action plan should therefore be developed to foster national and international public health security.

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