Emergencies preparedness, response

Ebola outbreak is still a public health emergency

Ebola communication: WHO staff talking to a community in Guinea
WHO/Robin Dartell

5 October 2015 -- The Emergency Committee on the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa, convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations, met for the 7th time on 1 October 2015. The purpose of the meeting was to consider whether the outbreak continues to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and to review, extend or revise temporary recommendations that accompany that declaration. The committee advised that the Ebola outbreak continues to constitute a PHEIC and issued a series of new recommendations that supersede those issued previously.

Ebola response phase 3

Health care worker training after Ebola, Liberia
WHO/M. Winkler

18 September 2015 -- The Ebola Phase 3 framework incorporates new knowledge and tools into the ongoing Ebola response and recovery work to achieve and sustain a "resilient zero". Phase 3 builds upon the rapid scale-up of treatment beds, safe and dignified burial teams, and behaviour change capacities during Phase 1; and the enhanced capacities for case finding, contract tracing, and community engagement during Phase 2. It includes new developments and breakthroughs in Ebola control, from vaccines, diagnostics and response operations to survivor counselling and care.

Rapid response to new Ebola infection in Bombali

Ebola contact tracing team at work in the quarantined village, Bombali district, Sierra Leone
WHO/S. Gborie

16 September 2015 -- WHO is helping Sierra Leone to mobilize all its experience and partners to ensure that any new cases of Ebola are investigated and transmission of the disease stopped as rapidly as possible. Sad news that a 16-year old girl had died from Ebola in Bombali district, a part of the country that had a large outbreak 5 months ago, sparked an immediate inter-agency rapid response. Partners sent people with the skills and equipment needed to stop further infection in Bombali.

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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