WHO in emergencies

Key results in 2017

WHO is committed to saving lives and reducing suffering in emergencies – whether caused by conflict, disease outbreak or a disaster. View some of the key results of our emergency programme in 2017.

WHO, WFP and UNICEF: Yemen’s families cannot withstand another day of war, let alone another 1,000

29 December 2017 Sana’a – Joint statement by: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and WFP Executive Director David Beasley.

“More than 1000 days of families driven from their homes by brutal violence. 1000 days without enough food to eat and safe water to drink. 1000 days of bombed hospitals and damaged schools. 1000 days of children recruited to fight. 1000 days of disease and death … of unimaginable human suffering.

A new strain of meningitis expanding in Africa: urgent action needed

21 December 2017 - As bacterial meningitis season begins in West Africa this year, a convergence of factors is threatening the region with large outbreaks affecting millions. A new hyper-invasive strain of meningococcal meningitis serogroup C is circulating at the same time that an acute shortage of meningitis C-containing vaccine threatens to severely limit the region’s ability to minimize the number of persons affected. The risk of imminent large-scale epidemics is dangerously high.

Uganda ends Marburg virus disease outbreak

8 December 2017 | Geneva - Uganda has successfully controlled an outbreak of Marburg virus disease and prevented its spread only weeks after it was first detected, the World Health Organization said on 8 December 2017.

Diphtheria is spreading fast in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

7 December 2017 -Diphtheria is rapidly spreading among Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, WHO warned today. More than 110 suspected cases, including 6 deaths, have been clinically diagnosed by health partners, including Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC).

WHO Bangladesh/ C Bercaru

1.4 million vaccines from global stockpile support yellow fever control in Nigeria

1 December 2017 - The International Coordinating Group (ICG) on vaccine provision for yellow fever has provided 1.4 million vaccine doses for an immunization campaign that starts on Saturday (2 December) to help control an ongoing yellow fever outbreak in Nigeria.


Madagascar’s plague epidemic is slowing, but we must sustain the response

27 November 2017 – An unprecedented outbreak of pneumonic plague that started in August in Madagascar and killed more than 200 people is declining – but WHO cautions that the response must be sustained.

Outbreaks and crises

Map showing emergencies around the world that has a WHO grading, 2016.

WHO has an essential role to play in supporting Member States to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies with public health consequences.

What we do

From prevention through preparedness to early warning, response, and early recovery, the WHO Health Emergencies programme is operational.


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

WHO thanks all of the contributors that provide funding or in-kind contribution for WHO’s work for emergencies.


WHO coordinates the international health response to emergencies and humanitarian crises, but we cannot do this work without our partners who help us deliver health services in even the most difficult situations.


Each issue of the Health Emergency Highlights contains information on the current humanitarian context, the health priorities and response operations

R&D Blueprint

Illustration of lab equipment.

The R&D Blueprint is a global strategy and preparedness plan to ensure that targeted R&D can strengthen the emergency response by bringing medical technologies to patients during epidemics.