The Republic of Palau will be undergoing a week-long assessment fits public health capabilities and capacity to implement measures prescribed in the International Health Regulations (IHR), adopted by World Health Organization (WHO) members in 2005.The assessment will be conducted in Koror from July 29 to August 2, 2019 by a team of international experts and WHO officials.

Utilizing the WHO Joint External Evaluation (JEE) tool, the evaluation will assess Palau’s capabilities in nineteen (19) key technical areas under four core to pics, including its ability to prevent, detect, and respond to public health risks and hazards. These hazards include potential disease out breaks and other public health risks such as zoonotic diseases and chemical and radiation emergencies. The JEE will also assess Palau’s capacity at its borders and points of entry to prevent the importation of infections and other hazards.

The JEE is conducted in two stages, with the first stage involving an initial self-assessment conducted by the country undergoing the JEE, followed by an onsite, in-country evaluation. The Ministry of Health (MOH) began the JEE process in 2018 and completed the self-assessment this month. The JEE is a voluntary, multi-sectoral, and collaborative process that is being conducted by WHO and the MOH in collaboration with other local partners and stakeholders including numerous government agencies, coalitions, and civil society organizations. Results of the JEE will assist Palau in identifying critical gaps within its health system, allowing the opportunity for further enhancement of public health preparedness and response capacities. Palau will be the fourth pacific country to undergo the JEE after Australia (2017), New Zealand (2018), and the Federated States of Micronesia(2018). (PR)