Second WHO global technical consultation on public health and social measures during health emergencies, November 2023

15 January, 2024

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WHO News, 9 January 2024

WHO held its second global technical consultation on public health and social measures (PHSM) during health emergencies from 21 to 23 November 2023 to accelerate PHSM as essential countermeasures for epidemic and pandemic preparedness and prevention. The meeting brought together 87 experts from various sectors in over 30 countries, representing Member States, academia as well as civil society and international organizations.

PHSM include non-pharmaceutical interventions implemented by individuals, communities, governments and institutions at national and community levels to protect the health and well-being of communities affected by health emergencies. Applying PHSMs aim to reduce the risk and scale of transmission of infectious diseases by decreasing transmission-relevant exposures and/or making them safer.

PHSM were extensively implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, more research is needed to understand the effectiveness of some measures including optimal and context –specific implementation strategies...


COMMENT (NPW): The page links to WHO's PHSM Initiative, which states: 'Individuals can, for example, engage in behaviours such as frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, wearing a mask and keeping a physical distance from other people.' I was unable to find any reports of the meeting held in November 2023. It would be interesting to review how the meeting approached the issue of the availability and use of reliable healthcare information for policymakers, health workers and (especially) the general public. Public Health and Social Measures are dependent on access to reliable healthcare information.

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of HIFA (Healthcare Information For All), a global health community that brings all stakeholders together around the shared goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA has 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting in four languages and representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK-based nonprofit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Email: