JW Lee Centre for Strategic Health Operations (SHOC)
The SHOC is the nerve centre of WHO's global epidemic response providing a single point of coordination for response to acute public health crises including infectious disease outbreaks, natural disasters and chemical emergencies. It is the hub of alert and response operations, combining the latest in information and communications technologies to support field operations and facilitate collaboration with Member States and technical partners in external networks such as the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN).
The SHOC was commissioned in July 2004 and was first utilized to assist with emergency coordination during the tsunami disaster of December 2004. Three months later, in March 2005, the SHOC was again deployed to support the coordination of WHO's response to an outbreak of Marburg haemorrhagic fever in Angola. In late 2005 the centre coordinated the international medical response to Hurricane Katrina and to the earthquake in Pakistan.
The SHOC continues to support crisis response during disease outbreaks including avian influenza, cholera and Rift Valley fever as well as other acute public health crises. The SHOC also participates in global pandemic preparedness exercises and provides technical advice to WHO regional offices, specialised agencies of the United Nations and other international organizations in the design and construction of emergency operation centres.