WHOWHO hosts Second global technical consultation on public health and social measures

The WHO Public Health And Social Measures (PHSM) initiative hosted the second global technical consultation on PHSM for health emergencies from 21-23 November 2023.

The consultation aimed to advance PHSM as essential countermeasures for epidemic and pandemic preparedness and prevention. It brought together experts from over 30 countries, representing various sectors, Member States, academia, civil society, and international organizations. Louise Sigfrid represented the GloPID-R’s Research and Policy team at the consultation.

Throughout the consultation, experts reviewed tools, resources, and research milestones developed by the WHO PHSM Initiative—a multi-year initiative launched in June 2021 in response to the 74th World Health Assembly’s call for a global framework to research, monitor, compare, and evaluate PHSM during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Experts identified critical initial actions for decision makers, researchers, and communities to facilitate a timely, equitable, and context-specific PHSM response to outbreaks with epidemic and pandemic potential.

Discussions emphasized the crucial role of communities in PHSM implementation and called for inclusive and participatory approaches to the design and adaptation of PHSM. Experts highlighted the need for mitigation measures, such as social protection policies and programs, and community-level initiatives to address the unintended socio-economic consequences of PHSM. These measures, combined with consistent communication, community engagement, and social listening, can promote uptake and adherence to PHSM during an outbreak.


Moving beyond COVID-19: Update on PHSM global research agenda

 The COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the critical role of PHSM in reducing the risk and scale of disease transmission, and how the knowledge gained from the pandemic needs to be leveraged to strengthen preparedness and response for future health emergencies. WHO published an urgent research agenda focused on PHSM and COVID-19 through a multi-step consultation process including a global technical consultation in 2021.

The urgent PHSM research agenda for COVID-19 outlined the following: identifying existing research gaps, measuring PHSM effectiveness on epidemiological outcomes and unintended health and socio-economic consequences, promoting uptake and adherence of PHSM, and cross-cutting research themes on building resilience for future health emergencies, and addressing methodological challenges to PHSM research.

This was followed by the second online survey in 2023 to identify medium- to long-term research priorities for PHSM 2021-2030. This has expanded the scope to multi-hazards PHSM, health and socioeconomic consequences, uptake of PHSM, as well as priorities for settings, funding sources, and equity considerations. The preliminary results of this second survey were discussed during the second technical consultation in November and a full report will be published in the near future.


The PHSM initiative

Second global technical consultation on PHSM for health emergencies

Multi-step consultation process

WHO global technical consultation on public health and social measures during health emergencies 2021

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

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The GloPID-R Secretariat is a project which receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101094188.