WHO & Regional Offices [to 19 May 2018]

WHO & Regional Offices [to 19 May 2018]

See Milestones above for coverage of Ebola and Yemen.
Weekly Epidemiological Record, 18 May 2018, vol. 93, 20 (pp. 249–304)
Dr Peter Salama
Deputy Director-General
Emergency Preparedness and Response

The WHO Health Emergencies (WHE) programme was established in 2016 to strengthen WHO capacity to prevent, detect and respond to emergencies. Over the last two years the WHE has markedly strengthened systems and processes to detect and manage hazards. This includes through more systematic assessment of notifications and alerts and through development and implementation of the Emergency Response Frame­work. Each month the programme assesses 7000 signals of potential public health concern. Around 30 of these require field investigation.

During the last year the WHE has supported operations to control and manage Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo, Marburg in Uganda, pneumonic plague in Madagascar, cholera, diphtheria and the collapse of the health system in Yemen, chemical events in Syria, war related injuries in Iraq, the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh to name but a few.

This special edition of the Weekly Epidemiology Record provides a flavour of some of the work that WHE is doing with partners to strengthen global capacity to prepare, prevent, detect, respond to and recover from public health emergencies with the goal of creating a safer world.

The first set of articles focuses on WHE’s work to strengthen surveillance and risk assessment including through the use of technology. Teams in AFRO, SEARO and PAHO document the tools they are using to assess and understand their hazards. WHO describe the use of Spatial analysis to map out geographical zones for the most common haemorrhagic fevers, chikungunya, yellow fever, Zika virus, plague, anthrax, meningitis, cholera and malaria. SEARO outlines how they have used multiple tools to understand their capacity gaps and vulnerabilities in order to guide investments in risk reduction and preparedness. In the Americas they are adapting tools for surveillance and operational readi­ness to take into account changes in social behaviours from urbanisation, travel and trade. And finally the article on the Epidemic Intelligence from Open Sources (EIOS) shows how a multi-agency collaboration is using open source data to support early detection, verification and assessment of public health risks allowing better identification of events that warrant more detailed risk analysis.

The second set of articles presents some examples of the WHE work in strengthening country preparedness. The article on Early Warning, Alert and Response outlines work that is ongoing to develop a robust tool that can be applied in both routine and emergency contexts with the aim of making EWAR processes smoother and more efficient. The piece on Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases and Public Health Emer­gencies (APSED) shares lessons learnt in rolling out a common framework for building core capacity across two WHO regions for application beyond Asia and the Pacific in order to strengthen global health security.

The third set of articles focuses on mechanisms and initiatives to support smoother and more rapid responses to emergencies starting with a piece on our newly adapted Incident Management System which is helping ensure a more predictable and effective response in many settings. The piece on vaccine stockpiles outlines the importance behind these stockpiles and the importance of transparent and clear governance in ensuring equi­table access to vaccines ensuring maximum public health impact, in particular where managing multiple requests for the same vaccine are being made.

And finally the pieces on Ukraine and on DARES in Yemen help us look to the future, providing two exam­ples of WHEs work with governments and partners can use emergency operations to deliver public health outcomes and to catalyse and stimulate broader health system reform and system strengthening.

These pieces provide an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come in building a stronger WHO emergen­cies programme. But our work is not done. This next year will see our work continue as we support govern­ments to ensure compliance with the International Health Regulations, and as we work across WHO and with development and humanitarian partners to coor­dinate our support in fragile and conflict settings to prevent health system collapse whilst continuing to access and provide critical services to populations in need.
I thank you for your support and we look forward to serving you further.

:: Mapping the distribution and risk of epidemics in the WHO African Region
:: A health emergency risk profile of the South-East Asia Region
:: Importance of surveillance for preparedness and country readiness in a hazard-prone region
:: The Epidemic Intelligence from Open Sources initiative: a collaboration to harmonize and standardize early detection and epidemic intelligence among public health organizations
:: Early Warning, Alert and Response (EWAR): a key area for countries in preparedness and response to health emergencies
:: Confronting health security threats: The Asia–Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases and Public Health Emergencies to advance core capacity for the International Health Regulations (2005)
:: Adapting the Incident Management System for response to health emergencies – early experience of WHO
:: Access to life-saving vaccines during outbreaks: a spotlight on governance
:: Crisis in Ukraine as an opportunity for rebuilding a more responsive primary health care system
:: Who DARES wins. Delivering accelerated results effectively and sustainably
:: Implementation of the International Health Regulation (2005) in Oman: progress, lessons learnt and way forward
:: Accelerating implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005): the interface between health systems and health security

WHO Regional Offices
Selected Press Releases, Announcements
WHO African Region AFRO
Selected Featured News
:: Statement on the 1st meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee regarding the Ebola outbreak in 2018  19 May 2018
:: WHO concerned as one Ebola case confirmed in urban area of Democratic Republic of the Congo  17 May 2018
:: WHO supports stabilization centres to treat malnourished children in South Sudan 17 May 2018
WHO European Region EURO
:: European Immunization Week helps highlight and boost the positive impact of vaccines 17-05-2018
:: The WHO Barcelona Course on Health Financing for Universal Health Coverage now open for application 16-05-2018
:: Reaching out with mental health services for displaced Syrians 16-05-2018
:: Belarus pilot project shows the way to people-centred TB services 16-05-2018

WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region EMRO
:: Last nationwide vaccination campaign in Afghanistan starts before the high transmission season for poliovirus  6 May 2018

WHO Western Pacific Region
:: Doing it for themselves: Peer-led HIV testing in Viet Nam improves access to care
7 May 2018