Developing a tool for assessing public health law in countries
Kim, SY; Lee, Y; Sohn, M; Hahm, KH
Asia-Pacific journal of public health, 24(5):867-871, 2012
Asia-Pacific journal of public health
At present, the World Health Organization (WHO) is in the process of developing a tool designed to assess the status of public health legislation in a given country. An Expert Consultation on Public Health Law was convened in Manila, Philippines, in May 2011. The participants agreed that the tool could serve as a guide for a regional approach to assist Member States in assessing the scope, completeness, and adequacy of their public health law. Given the broad definition of "public health" and the laws that affect health, directly or indirectly, the participants further agreed to narrow the field to 4 areas based on significant WHO works/policies, each organized into an independent module: (1) International Digest on Health Law, (2) Primary Health Care, (3) International Health Regulations 2005, and (4) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The tool would be drafted in a questionnaire format that asks the respondent to determine whether primary and/or subsidiary legislation exists in the country on a specific topic and, if so, to cite the relevant law, describe the pertinent points, and attach and/or link to the full text where available. The participants agreed that the respondents should include government officials and/or academics with legal competency. Version 1 of the tool was piloted in the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Samoa, and Vanuatu. At a 2nd Expert Consultation on Public Health Law, convened in Incheon, Republic of Korea, in October 2011, in conjunction with the 43rd Conference of the Asia-Pacific Academic Consortium on Public Health, the participants determined that the tool was generally usable, certain concerns notwithstanding, such as the risk of standardizing compliance with WHO policies. The agreed next step is to finalize the analysis tool by August 2012, marking the end of stage I in the development process. Stage II will consist of team building and networking of responsible officers and/or professionals in the countries. The tool will be further developed to reflect specific in-country situations.
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