Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Ebola diaries: Creating ways to understand an outbreak

Mikiko Sengai, WHO epidemiologist, Sierra Leone

24 April 2015 -- Mikiko Senga, a WHO epidemiologist specializing in emerging diseases was sent to Kenema, Sierra Leone in early June 2014 to gather data about the Ebola outbreak. There she found herself trying to make sense of information coming in a variety of ways, from bits of paper, blood samples, hospital records, and soon realised she was facing an outbreak about to catch fire. She called for help and, with colleagues who came to support her, set about developing ways to document and understand the size and nature of the Ebola outbreak racing through the district. Here is her story.

Returning to normal: The road to early recovery starts with the health system

Infection prevention and control training, Sierra Leone
WHO/P. Desloovere

17 April 2015 -- As part of early recovery efforts, WHO continues to work closely with national authorities and partners in the 3 high-transmission Ebola countries on how to rebuild confidence and trust in health systems and services. Nurse Sai Conteh works at the Kambia Government Hospital and needs to know what to do in case one day a patient with Ebola-like symptoms comes to the hospital. She looks back at what she has learnt and how different her daily work looks like.

Cuban. Doctor. Ebola survivor

Dr Felix Sarria Baez, Cuban doctor, returns to Sierra Leone after recovering from Ebola.
WHO/Stephane Saporito

9 April 2015 -- Dr Felix Sarria Baez was one of dozens of Cuban doctors sent as a Foreign medical team to support the Ebola response in Sierra Leone in October 2014. While working there, he contracted Ebola himself. He survived and returned to Sierra Leone to further help Ebola patients. Below is his story.

Stories of Ebola survivors

Mohammed Issa Cisse, nurse, Telimele, Guinea, 2014
WHO/C. Black

Although Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease, getting medical care early can make a significant difference. Today, about 1 out of 3 Ebola patients survive. Many of them are now using their experience to help fight the disease in their community. Here are their stories.

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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

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Global Infection Prevention and Control Network (GIPC Network) Launch

WHO Unit on Disease Control in Humanitarian Emergencies - DCE

Natural ventilation design project website launched

Communicable disease alert and response for mass gatherings