Institut Pasteur and WHO Join Forces Against Epidemics

The Institut Pasteur and the World Health Organization (WHO) signed on September 13th in Geneva a cooperation agreement in the field of epidemic response and global health security. Their goal is to assist countries in strengthening their capacity for surveillance, detection, and response under the International Health Regulations established by the WHO.

To better manage the risks of spread of epidemics, the WHO established in 2007 the International Health Regulations (IHR). The IHR requires countries to notify the WHO of certain disease outbreaks and public health events. To this end, countries are required to strengthen their capacities for surveillance and response thus improving public health.

Through this agreement, the Institut Pasteur in Paris and the institutions of the Institut Pasteur International Network (RIIP) will put their skills and their knowledge to work in the service of these countries, including those which have limited resources, to help them strengthen their capacity to alert, diagnose and respond to public health threats. With 8 WHO Collaborating Centers in Paris and 10 in the RIIP, the institutes, mostly located in areas of high endemic or emerging risk, are often at the forefront of emergency epidemic situations and are key players in the fight against infectious diseases.

The agreement also provides for the establishment of training programs in laboratory techniques and field epidemiology, the development of human resources being an essential part of strengthening the health agenda. An important aspect also includes the monitoring and control of disease vectors and reservoirs for which technical expertise will be provided by the Institut Pasteur and the International Network.

On 13th of September 2012, in Geneva Dr Keiji FUKUDA (WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Security and Environment) and Dr Alice DAUTRY (President of Institut Pasteur) signed in the presence of Mr Nicolas NIEMTCHINO (Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations Office at Geneva) the cooperation agreement between WHO and Institut Pasteur in the field of epidemic response and global health security .