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Global Health Governance

The key principle of national public health in the pre-globalisation period was the sovereignty of the state, which reigned supreme over its territory and people. However, a significant and dramatic change of strategy occurred during the SARS epidemic. SARS obliged countries to consider a collective, global, response to infectious outbreak as imperative. This new strategy has been recently elaborated on in the Revised International Health Regulations (IHR), and in the Interim Protocol on Rapid operations to contain the initial emergence of pandemic influenza. It is not clear whether the WHO will eventually become the supranational public health authority, or if a new governance body will be set up, however, the SARS outbreak indicates the growing need for a global health security regime to be established.
The TELL ME project has by definition a European and international dimension, and its objectives cannot be extended to national and local levels, although some project activities should be performed at local levels. Epidemics are indeed a perfect application of the slogan “think globally, act locally”, because no action can be only local in case of infectious disease outbreaks.