Neglected tropical diseases

Disease Control in Humanitarian Emergencies (DCE)


DCE focuses on humanitarian emergencies caused by conflict or natural disasters that are frequently characterized by the displacement of large numbers of people. Those affected are often resettled in temporary locations with high population densities, inadequate food and shelter, unsafe water and poor sanitation. These conditions have enabled communicable diseases, either alone or in combination with malnutrition, to emerge as major killers.


To reduce the excess morbidity and mortality caused by communicable diseases in humanitarian emergencies through the provision of technical and operational support to the WHO Department of Health Action in Crises (HAC), WHO country and regional offices, national authorities, other United Nations agencies, nongovernmental and international organizations, and donor agencies.


  • To develop technical standards, guidelines and tools for communicable disease control in humanitarian emergencies.
  • To provide operational support on communicable disease control in acute emergencies and for protracted crises.
  • To build capacity on communicable disease control in emergencies through training workshops and education.
  • To strengthen local and international partnerships.
  • To advocate for the health of populations affected by emergencies.


DCE achieves its objectives through coordination with the Communicable Diseases Working Group on Emergencies (CD-WGE), which includes leading experts on diarrhoeal diseases, malaria, acute respiratory infections, tuberculosis, human immunodeficiency virus, immunization, water and sanitation, child health, and surveillance/early warning and outbreak response. The CD-WGE sets technical standards for communicable disease control and provides rapid technical and operational support in acute emergencies, with ongoing assistance as the situation evolves.

Latest news!

Article form the Lancet

"Child health in armed conflict: time to rethink"


Pandemic influenza preparedness and mitigation in refugee and displaced populations
March 2006

Recent publications

A field manual

Communicable Diseases Control in Emergencies [pdf 1,39mb]

Public Health Mapping and GIS


Health Action in Crises (HAC)

Disease control in humanitarian emergencies (DCE)