Emergencies preparedness, response

Progress in the Ebola response

Foreign Medical Teams in Ebola-affected country.
WHO/Rob Holden

6 July 2015 -- Since July 2014, we’ve made real progress towards tackling the Ebola outbreak, yet new cases continue to emerge. As we work together in partnership with the affected countries and the international health community, we can see that we are better off today than we were a year ago. Scroll through an interactive story of the progress made and the challenges that remain, as we continue to work towards our final goal of #GettingtoZero.

Recurrence of Ebola transmission in Liberia

Ebola Treatment Centre, Liberia
WHO/M. Seeger

3 July 2015 -- Although transmission of the Ebola virus had ceased, Liberia remained at high risk of a recurrence of Ebola due to ongoing transmission in neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone. Liberia entered a 90-day period of vigilance involving testing anyone with features of Ebola virus disease and testing post-mortem swabs for Ebola virus. On Monday, 29 June, a post-mortem swab, taken from a 17-year-old male who died from a febrile illness managed as malaria, tested positive for Ebola.

Ebola diaries: Making things work in a desperate situation

Dr Olu Olushayo, deployed to Sierra Leone to coordinate the WHO response to Ebola virus disease.
WHO/C. Black

2 July 2015 -- One year ago, when Dr Olushayo arrived to coordinate the WHO Ebola response in Sierra Leone, he found not only an outbreak on a scale beyond his worst imaginings but myriad problems that needed complex solutions. Even where funds were available, there were not enough ambulances in the country, not enough Ebola treatment beds, not enough nurses and other healthcare workers as fast as needed.

Ebola: Health worker infections

Hospital staff of the Ebola Treatment Centre, Sierra Leone
WHO/W. Romeril

May 2015 -- Health workers have borne the brunt of the west african Ebola outbreak, not only working tirelessly to treat the sick but risking their lives every time they went to work. A new WHO report into health worker infections has found that health workers are between 21 and 32 times more likely to be infected with Ebola than people in the general population. It has also shown that such infections can be prevented - health worker infection rates have dropped considerably as measures to prevent infection improved.

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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