2021 Annual global public health intelligence report/Rapport mondial annuel de veille en sante publique, 2021.

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From: Weekly Epidemiological Record(Vol. 97, Issue 33)
Publisher: World Health Organization
Document Type: Article
Length: 3,093 words
Lexile Measure: 1910L

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Detecting and responding to acute public health threats is one of WHO's most important core activities. WHO has therefore established a unique approach to global detection, verification and assessment of the risk of acute public health threats, known as public health intelligence (PHI). (1) The Organization has adopted an all-hazards approach to acute public health events, beyond a focus on infectious diseases, since the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) came into force in 2007. (2)

WHO teams conduct PHI activities daily in collaboration with colleagues in WHO country offices, national governments and partners. Annual bi- and tri-regional reports have been published since 2015 of PHI activities to identify areas for improvement and for transparency by the WHO regional offices for Africa, the Americas and Europe. (3) In 2021, the 3 other WHO regional offices, for the Eastern Mediterranean, South-East Asia and the Western Pacific, also contributed to the annual report, for the first global report, "2021 Annual global report on public health intelligence activities as part of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme". (4)

The 2021 global report describes the public health events detected, assessed and reported in the preceding 20 years (2002-2021), with a focus on 2021. Data for the report were extracted from the Event Management System (EMS), a password-protected WHO web tool accessible to professional personnel in WHO country and regional offices and at headquarters, and from the Event Information Site (EIS) for national IHR focal points (NFPs). (5)

The report includes trends and important findings, which are summarized here. Between 2002 and 2021, a total of 7572 acute public health events were recorded globally in the EMS, the number ranging from 231 to 576 per year (Figure 1A). The trend over time was cyclical between 2002 and 2016 and then comparable to that in 2016 each year in the past 5 years (2017-2021). In 2020 and 2021, the number of entries was slightly lower, due to the onset and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. This resulted in a different pattern of reported diseases because of the public health measures taken in response to COVID-19 and also because of reprioritization and redistribution of resources for the response to and control of COVID-19.

The report also shows that most of the reported public health events in the past 20 years occurred in the WHO regions of Africa and the Americas (Figure 1B). More than half (51-76%) of the public health events reported annually occurred in these regions in 14 of the 20 years and 43-49% of events in 4 of 6 years (2005, 2006, 2019 and 2020). In the other WHO regions, the percentage of reported public health events was relatively constant over the past 5 years, ranging from 10% to 20%. It should be noted that differences in reporting by Member States, in use of the EMS and in the presence of pathogens and epidemiological dynamics among WHO regions contribute to the relative differences in the numbers of acute public health events.

The report includes information on the...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A715388106