WHO Influenza Watchdog Network Meeting In Geneva, Setting 5-Year Plan18/07/2017 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)IP-Watch and its Health Policy Watch are non-profit independent news services and depend on subscriptions. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.The global network of national influenza centres is at the core of the World Health Organization system of influenza surveillance and response. All year round those national influenza centres collect, interpret and share flu samples or genetic information with the WHO so that seasonal vaccines can be manufactured, and potential pandemics adequately identified and contained. The WHO network of national influenza centres (NICs), which maintain surveillance and identify seasonal and pandemic flu viruses, is turning 65 this year.The WHO is organising a three day meeting of national influenza centres from 17-19 July, to strengthen its Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS) and individual capacity in countries and regions. The last global national influenza centres meeting was held in Tunisia in 2010.“The overall aim of the WHO meeting is to position GISRS to meet the increasing public health needs in a changing world on influenza, both seasonal, zoonotic and pandemic and potentially other emerging diseases,” according to the WHO. GISRS is a network of 152 institutions in 113 countries, 6 WHO Collaborating Centers for Influenza and 13 WHO Reference Laboratories, according to the WHO.Since 2010, with the help of the Partnership Contribution of the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework, annual regional NIC meetings have been held to review and strengthen influenza surveillance capacities, according to a meeting document [pdf] for this event.One of the outcomes of the meetings is a global influenza strategy framework, a way forward for a 5-year development plan of GISRS, and a GISRS governance structure.Participants at the meeting are representatives of GISRS’s participating institutions, national epidemiology institutions, national health authorities, and partners.The agenda [pdf] of the meeting includes panels on the status of GISRS, the improvement of seasonal and pandemic response, the operational guidance on virus sharing for NICs, the evolving landscape of partners on influenza and the interaction with GISRS, the global influenza strategy, and the way forward.Some parts of the meeting are open to press, such as the second day. The morning was dedicated to technical discussions. Speaking this morning, Maria Zambon, NIC, United Kingdom, talked about some of the challenges met by her centre. She said virus insolation capability and capacity are diminishing.Zambon underlined the challenge of remaining efficient in the context of financial constraints. She explained that the majority of the surveillance effort comes from samples taken from hospital patients, and it is difficult to have a very good handle on the totality of what circulates in the community, or the number of deaths that might be caused by influenza.The completeness of the surveillance system depends on a number of indicators and how to make sense of multiple information sources, she said.According to Zambon, self-sampling in communities could be useful in the collection of samples to be analysed, and to understand what circulates in the community.Rodney Daniels, WHO Collaborative Center, Francis Crick Institute, presented the current operational guidance on virus sharing for NICs, as presented in several WHO documents, and in particular the Terms of Reference for NICs [pdf].During a panel today with representatives of developing country NICs, Sri Lanka and Turkey underlined the challenge of hiring qualified staff. Chile’s NIC representative said the strong relationship of the Ministry of Health has enabled Chile to have a very good surveillance system. Image Credits: WHOShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)RelatedCatherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."WHO Influenza Watchdog Network Meeting In Geneva, Setting 5-Year Plan" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.