Humanitarian Health Action

Health emergency highlights

Each monthly issue of the Health Emergency Highlights contains information on the current humanitarian context, the health priorities and response operations in the three to four focus countries for that month. Each issue also highlights policy work in the area of health humantiarian action done by WHO and partners, events and thematic issues related to health in emergencies.

Health emergency highlights #51

WHO is responding to an outbreak of cholera in Yemen where the number of cases continues to rise.  Mobile laboratories are being used to conduct rapid diagnostic tests for Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
WHO is working with partners to meet the health needs of South Sudanese refugees; identifying the source and conatining the spread of a foodborne illness outbreak in Iraq; leading the revitalisation of the health care services in Nigeria; releasing internal emergency funds to scale up the emergency response in the Gaza Strip; providing vital care for displaced Syrians; and treating trauma and war wounds in Afghanistan.
As part of WHO's work for emergency preparedness, health facilities in the Caribbean are being transformed to make them safer and more resilient to natural disasters; on World Blood Donor Day, WHO emphasized the role each individual can play in emergency preparedness by giving blood even before an emergency strikes; and WHO launched a series of video courses on epidemics, pandemics and health emergencies.  

Health emergency highlights #50

The 70th World Health Assembly took place in Geneva 22-31 May. Delegates elected Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as new WHO Director-General and made decisions on a wide range of health emergency-related issues. WHO and the UN Foundation produced a live show interviewing Dr Rick Brennan, WHO Director of Emergency Operations.
WHO and partners continue to respond to the Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the first days of the outbreak, the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies quickly released money needed for the immediate response.  As soon as the outbreak was detected, WHO and other partners, mobilized new technologies for initial sample testing.
A WHO-chartered aircraft carrying cholera supplies landed in Yemen; WHO and partners are responding to the health impacts of pre-famine conditions in Somalia; and hundreds of volunteers vaccinated displaced children in Iraq. Polio workers in Nigeria are responding to a meningitis C outbreak; and new animations from WHO show the scope and complexity of the global drive to end polio. 
  At the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, WHO and health sector partners came together to reduce risks from emergencies and disasters.  A new WHO Office for Humanitarian and Health Emergencies Preparedness has been established in Turkey.  Read about the progress in 70 years of the Global Influenza Programme.  

Health emergency highlights #49

WHO is working with national authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to mount a rapid and effective response to the Ebola outbreak.
WHO has scaled up its presence and activities in Somalia due to increasing health needs related to food insecurity. Read about the link between food insecurity and disease.
WHO works with partners to fight the recent upsurge in cholera transmission in Yemen; tells the story of a family separated by conflict that is reunited in Iraq; gives new life to Syrian refugees requiring emergency medical care; and responds to a puzzling plague outbreak in Madagascar. Read about how WHO is preparing for the next influenza epidemic; and using social science to revolutionalize emergency response and knowledge transfer to fight epidemics.

Health emergency highlights #48

WHO answers the question "Health security: is the world better prepared?"  Read about the health situation in Yemen where millions are at risk. WHO and partners open a trauma field hospital in Iraq; conduct a joint cholera review mission in Somalia; and vaccinate Syrian children with the support of new technology.  We are calling for increased support for the fuel and electricity crisis in Gaza and monitoring outbreaks and other emergencies in the African Region.  We have snapshots of what partners are doing to support mental health services during emergencies and the Global Health Cluster strategy 2017 - 2019.

Health emergency highlights #47

WHO is boosting lifesaving care for injured civilians in Iraq; providing vaccines to control meningitis C in Nigeria; calling for increased support for health in the Syrian Arab Republic and implementing a famine response plan in South Sudan. 
WHO’s work to prepare for and prevent disease outbreaks includes vaccinating 5 million children in Yemen, updating yellow fever vaccination recommendations for Brazil and conducting simultaneous vaccination campaigns against polio in four countries.  WHO also considers bioethics in its response to Zika virus.

Health emergency highlights #46

WHO has sent yellow fever vaccines to Brazil; provided health services and essential medicines to displaced people in Yemen; airlifted ambulances into Iraq; provided medicines and supplies to stabilization centres in Nigeria to treat Severe Acute Malnutrition; expanded mental health care services across the Syrian Arab Republic and; provided technical expertise in the cholera response in Somalia. 
WHO’s work on preparedness and monitoring for emergencies includes working with partners to build a resilient health system in South Sudan; launching a podcast series on Zika virus; updating the WHO Simulation Exercise Manual and; posting Joint External Evaluation reports for Sierra Leone, Somalia and Sudan.

Health emergency highlights #45

WHO is helping to contain a Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria; sending cholera kits and tuberculosis medicines to Yemen; delivering mobile clinics to northern Syrian Arab Republic; immunizing over 3 million children against polio in South Sudan; and developing a Zika country classification scheme to help public health authorities assess the risk of Zika virus. WHO activated an emergency response plan following the reported use of chemical weapons agents in Iraq.
WHO's work to strengthen health security includes tracking vaccine deliveries and vaccination campaigns; supporting the Government of Tanzania to develop a National Action Plan for Health Security; and guiding laboratories to implement quality management.

Health emergency highlights #44

WHO is scaling up its health response in crisis-affected countries: working to provide critical health services for 1.5 million people in Somalia; providing health assistance to 8.2 million people in the Lake Chad Basin; assisting the crumbling health system in Yemen; and preparing to meet the urgent health needs of 750 000 residents in west Mosul, Iraq. WHO has secured oral cholera vaccines in an effort to contain cholera in hard to reach areas in South Sudan, including some recently affected by famine.

In February, the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared the end of the yellow fever outbreak. Also, WHO interviewed experts on how to respond to outbreaks such as Zika in the future. Thirty Joint External Evaluations (JEE) have been conducted within the first year of launching the JEEs.

Health emergency highlights #43

One year after WHO declared Zika a public health emergency, staff around the world tell their stories about managing the Zika virus in their region and how the response will be handled moving forward. And one year after the end of Ebola, a new report details the work over the past 12 months, particularly in supporting Ebola survivors and continuing vital research into the disease.
In the past few months WHO has deployed medical teams to provide urgently needed health services for internally displaced people in Yemen and emergency health kits were sent to Ukraine to address the health needs of over 300,000 patients. WHO has been working in partnership with the Ministry of Health in South Sudan to strengthen disease surveillance, outbreak response and health care services to save lives.
WHO is working to prevent crises before they occur: one tool is the Joint External Evaluations that measure country specific progress in preventing, detecting, and responding to public health threats. The 29th Joint External Evaluation was concluded in Ghana this month.
WHO answers questions on how, in emergencies, people are at a higher risk of undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. WHO/Europe strengthened support to national authorities to build the resilience of health facilities in emergencies using the Hospital Safety Index. Working with partners, WHO aims to ensure emergency medical teams deploying to disasters are trained and equipped to respond.

Health emergency highlights #42

First, 10 things to know about the Syrian crisis. In the past two weeks, as the conflict in Mosul, Iraq intensified, WHO increased trauma care services to ensure patients have a greater chance of survival. WHO provided lab personnel in South Sudan with training to ensure timely and reliable identification of diseases and scaled up measles vaccination to reach 2.3 million children. In Mosul, WHO and partners ensured polio vaccination reached 6 million children.
In January, WHO published the list of priority diseases that need urgent research and development to prevent public health emergencies in the near future. A report on WHO's response in severe, large-scale emergencies was delivered to the 140th Executive Board. WHO’s Regional Emergencies Director for the African Region, gives an overview of the emergencies in the African Region, and the work that prevents most incidents from escalating. WHO is working with the UN Central Emergency Response fund to provide health services in response to forgotten crises around the world. Finally, Management of Dead Bodies after Disasters: a manual for first responders, a joint publication by WHO and partners, was updated and published to provide simple, practical guidance for first responders.

Health emergency highlights #41

This issue begins by reviewing the key achievements for WHO's work in emergencies in 2016. In the last weeks of 2016, WHO confirmed that an experimental Ebola vaccine is highly protective against the deadly virus. WHO and partners are leading a measles vaccination campaign in Nigeria to protect more than 4 million children against an outbreak. In Iraq, WHO's response has saved hundreds of lives, particularly through the delivery of supplies and services to treat trauma injuries. WHO’s teams in the Syrian Arab Republic and Turkey are providing on-going support to the evacuations from eastern Aleppo. WHO leadership of the international response to Zika virus continues. In 2016, the sixth country team passed WHO’s rigorous classification process and was verified by the Emergency Medical Team Initiative to deploy and set up a fully staffed field hospital in the event of an emergency. Finally, Executive Director Pete Salama outlined how the new emergencies programme bridges two worlds.

Health Action in Crises Monthly Highlights

The distribution of the Monthly Highlights was interrupted in September 2011. As of November 2012 they have been replaced by Health in emergencies highlights.

Health Action in Crises weekly highlights

The distribution of the weekly Highlights was interrupted in February 2010. As of September 2010 they have been replaced by a more comprehensive monthly version.