Capacity of the health system in Kazakhstan for crisis management
Global health security
The statistics show a steady rise in the number of disasters worldwide, many of which are attributed to climate change. In the past 20 years, disasters have killed over three million people and adversely affected over 800 million.
In the WHO European Region, 47 million people were directly affected by natural disasters between 1990 and 2008, resulting in over 129 000 deaths, many of which are attributed to climate change (1). This does not include the wars and violent conflicts that have killed over 300 000 people in the Region over the last 20 years. Technological accidents, such as the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in 1986, have affected millions of people.
The effects of climate change have serious implications for global health security. In addition to the consequences for the health of individuals, environmental changes may well result in masspopulation movement and competition for scarce resources, leading in turn to conflict and political instability.
Health is a major concern in all crises, disasters and complex emergency situations. Risk reduction measures to reduce the vulnerabilities of communities at risk and to increase their coping capacities can effectively prevent and mitigate the health and social impact of disasters, emergencies and health crises. National and local health authorities need to be ready and well prepared to respond to the health challenges of potential future crises and ensure that adequate systems and response and recovery mechanisms are in place and equipped with sufficient capacities and resources.
World Health Assembly resolutions WHA58.1 (2) and WHA59.22 (3) on health action in crises and disasters reinforced WHO’s mandate to support Member States in preparing their health systems so they can cope effectively with the health aspects of crises, and strengthened its own institutional readiness.
Growing concern about national, regional and international public health security led to the adoption of the revised International Health Regulations (IHR) (4) by the Fifty-eighth World Health Assembly in May 2005. These regulations provide a new legal framework for strengthening surveillance and response capacity and for protecting the public against acute health threats, which could have the potential to spread internationally, negatively affect human health and interfere with international trade and travel.
The revised IHR (4) have a much broader scope than the first edition (1969), which focused on the international notification of specific communicable diseases. States Parties to the IHR (4) are now obliged to assess and notify WHO of any event of potential international public health concern, irrespective of its cause (whether biological, chemical or radionuclear) and origin (whether accidental or deliberate).