Emergencies preparedness, response

WHO in emergencies

Health crisis in Central African Republic.
WHO/C. Black

June 2016 -- WHO is working with countries to respond to crises and emergencies by ensuring effective, efficient and timely action to address public health priorities so that lives are saved and suffering is reduced; and to recover from crises by ensuring the local health system is back to functioning. WHO's new Health Emergencies Programme changes the way WHO does business, expanding from being primarily a technical and normative organization to a fully operational agency in emergencies.

Recovery toolkit: health services after Ebola

May 2016 -- The recovery toolkit is online library of guidance resources to support countries in the reactivation of health services which may have suffered as a result of an emergency, such as the Ebola outbreak. These services include ongoing programmes such as immunization, maternal and child health services, infection prevention and control.

Caring for Ebola survivors

At the Ebola survivors clinic in Liberia, 2015
WHO/C. Bailey

March 2016 -- Ebola virus has been detected in the breast milk of survivors up to 16 months after the onset of symptoms. Studies into virus persistence in breast milk are ongoing and more evidence is needed to understand the risk of transmission and duration of the virus. The revised guidance recommends that if Ebola virus is detected in breast milk, lactating survivors should suspend breastfeeding and use a safe breast milk substitute until they obtain 2 consecutive negative Ebola tests.

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Our vision

An integrated global alert and response system for epidemics and other public health emergencies based on strong national public health systems and capacity and an effective international system for coordinated response.

Core functions

  • Support Member States for the implementation of national capacities for epidemic preparedness and response in the context of the IHR(2005), including laboratory capacities and early warning alert and response systems;
  • Support national and international training programmes for epidemic preparedness and response;
  • Coordinate and support Member States for pandemic and seasonal influenza preparedness and response;
  • Develop standardized approaches for readiness and response to major epidemic-prone diseases (e.g. meningitis, yellow fever, plague);
  • Strengthen biosafety, biosecurity and readiness for outbreaks of dangerous and emerging pathogens outbreaks (e.g. SARS, viral haemorrhagic fevers); Maintain and further develop a global operational platform to support outbreak response and support regional offices in implementation at regional level.

Latest publications

Website for Information and Communication Technologies for Public Health Emergency Management launched