The term Public Health Emergency of International Concern is defined in the International Health Regulations (2005) as “an extraordinary event which is determined, as provided in these regulations:
- to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease; and
- to potentially require a coordinated international response”. This definition implies a situation that: is serious, unusual or unexpected; carries implications for public health beyond the affected State’s national border; and may require immediate international action.
Some serious public health events that endanger international public health may be determined under the Regulations to be public health emergencies of international concern (PHEIC). (WHO)
In Nepal, the Public Health Service Act 2018 section 48 stated about the concept of Public Health Emergency under the Emergency Health Service and Management, chapter 6.
The rule 48 (4) The Local Level may declare a state of public health emergency in accordance with the prevailing law.
Provided that, if any disaster occurs in more than one Local Level, the concerned Province, and if the public health disaster occurs in more than one Province, the Government of Nepal may declare state of public health emergency as prescribed.
48 (5) The information relating to the declaration of state of public health emergency shall be disseminated and transmitted by public medium for all the concerned.
48 (6) The period and zone of public health emergency including other aspects may be added or reduced or removed on the basis of available data and information.
48 (7) Other provisions relating to the emergency state of health shall be as prescribed.
Similarly, Public Health Service Regulation 2020, section 27 stated about the operation process for ”Management of Emergency Health Services which includes following provisions;
(4) If a crisis situation is created as a result of insects, microbial bioterrorism, emergency and unforeseen causes or a pandemic of infectious diseases, the Government of Nepal, Provincial Government and Local Level can declare a public health emergency by issuing a necessary order pursuant to Sub-Section (4) of Section 48 of the Act.
(5) If a public health emergency is declared pursuant to Sub-rule (4), the Government of Nepal, Provincial Government or the Local Level shall be able to give necessary instruction and operate the non-governmental, private, co-operative, non-profit community and teaching hospitals or other health institutions or direct these health institutions to provide concerned health services, mobilise the health staff working in the health institutions or operate such health institutions by taking them under control.
(6) If any health institution is taken under control pursuant to Sub-rule (5), such health institution shall be operated pursuant to Sub-rule (4) as determined by the concerned government or level declaring a public health emergency.
(7) While managing emergency health services or during a public health emergency pursuant to this Rule, the concerned government or level shall be able to deploy the health staff working in any health institution to another health institution or region as deemed necessary.
(8) If the health staff available in a Province or Local Level are insufficient during the situation of a public health emergency declared by any Provincial Government or Local Level pursuant to Sub-rule (4), the Local Level can ask the Provincial Government and the Government of Nepal, and the Provincial Government can ask the Government of Nepal for additional health staff. In case of such demands, the Government of Nepal and the Provincial Government shall deploy the manpower working under them in the areas of public health emergency.
(9) Notwithstanding anything written elsewhere in this Rule, the Government of Nepal, Provincial Government or the Local Level shall be able to withdraw the declaration of public health emergency by issuing a necessary order if there is not a situation pursuant to Sub-rule (4).
- Public Health Service Act 2018
- Public Health Service Regulation 2020
- Infectious Diseases Control Act 2020
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