Humanitarian Health Action

Preparedness and risk management in health emergencies

A community meeting in Palmarito, Bolivia, where residents review progress on their measures to reduce the incidence of triamatone bugs that transmit Chagas disease.
WHO/TDR /Fernando G. Revilla

The range of threats to public health faced by countries worldwide is broad and highly diverse, and includes infectious disease outbreaks, unsafe food and water, chemical and radiation contamination, natural and technological hazards, wars and other societal conflicts, and the health consequences of climate change. To help meet these and other challenges, countries are encouraged to strengthen their capacities for emergency risk management incorporating measures for prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

WHO works with a wide range of partners to improve health outcomes for people at risk of emergencies and disasters. WHO provides support for implementing country and community capacities in health and other sectors to manage the health risks associated with emergencies and disasters.

Areas of work and current projects

WHO provides technical support on building capacity leadership for articulating policy options, which includes defining technical guidance, norms, and standards, shaping the research agenda, and monitoring health trends in terms of risks, health effects and country capacities.

Policy and strategies

The policy direction of WHO’s work in emergency risk management for health is determined by the World Health Assembly Resolutions at the global level and by WHO.

Partnerships

WHO collaborates with many partners in emergency risk management, including governments at national, sub-national and local levels, international organizations, multilateral and bilateral agencies, civil society, and non-government organizations, research institutions and universities.

Resources and links

WHO and other organizations have selected resources for further learning on capacity development for emergency and disaster risk management for health.

Latest developments

  • Health at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction – 19-23 May 2013
  • The 4th session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction took place in Geneva on 19-23 May 2013.
  • Progress Report of the Thematic Platform on Emergency and Disaster Risk Management for Health
  • Progress Report on the Safer Hospitals Initiative
  • Health in a Disasters Goal in Disaster Risk Management in Post-2015 Development Goals
  • Consultation on the Global Health Emergency Risk Management and Strengthening Public Health Preparedness

2013

  • Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction
    • The Global Platform provides the forum to review progress on implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) as well as articulating the vital health inputs to the on-going dialogue on the successor framework to the current HFA.
  • Progress Report of the Thematic Platform on Emergency and Disaster Risk Management for Health
  • Progress Report on the Safer Hospitals Initiative
  • Health in a Disasters Goal in Disaster Risk Management in Post-2015 Development Goals
  • Consultation on the Global Health Emergency Risk Management and Strengthening Public Health Preparedness

2012

  • Integrating sexual and reproductive health into health emergency and disaster risk management
    • 12 October 2012, this policy brief discusses the integration of sexual and reproductive health in all aspects of health emergency and disaster risk management, both for immediate health needs, such as saving lives in obstetric complications, as well in the long term to reduce vulnerability and to support sustainable development of sexual and reproductive health services in health systems and communities.

2011

  • Joint Statement on Scaling up the Community-based Health Workforce
    • 20 October 2011, this statement highlights the vital role of community health workers, including volunteers, in disaster risk reduction, and calls for governments and all partners to invest in strengthening their capacity.
  • One Million Safe Hospitals and Safe Schools Campaign
    • The One Million Safe Hospitals and Safe Schools Campaign is a global advocacy initiative to make schools and hospitals safer from disaster.

2010