Strengthening WHO's capacity for infectious hazard management


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More than 100 WHO staff members and partners from all three levels of the organization are taking part in knowledge exchange and team building initiative “Managing epidemics of the 21st century”. This three-phase, WHO-certified learning programme helps shape the work for the future generations of participants and frontline responders in health emergencies.

The initiative is part of WHO's reforms to improve its work in health emergencies to meet expectations from governments, partners, stakeholders, donors and decision-makers for technical excellence and sound public health advice and actions. Three phases of the learning programme include:

· on-line preparation on OpenWHO.org platform in February-March 2017

· face-to-face workshop in Dakar, Senegal, 21-23 March 2017

· follow up with monthly on-line briefings during May-November 2017

Stronger collaboration with partners

The face-to-face workshop on 21-23 March 2017 in Dakar, Senegal brought together 125 participants from 45 African countries, including WHO staff and donors, such as CDC, UNICEF, IFRC, the World Bank, ECHO and USAID to maximize expertise-sharing, build-up of competences, and common approaches through interactive exercises.

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“Recent experience has highlighted that major epidemics in the 21st century highlight the need for a system to quickly transform scientific knowledge into action on the ground," said Dr Gaya Gamhewage, Manager of Interventions and Guidance team at WHO. "Knowledge that is understandable and actionable is essential to mounting an effective response to save lives, minimize illness, and prevent unnecessary damage to societies and economies."

“It is essential that our experts, staff, and teams have the latest science and knowledge to work with colleagues across the Organization to deal with disease outbreaks effectively and efficiently. AFRO Member States, and those beyond the region, depend on us to quickly identify infectious hazards, detect outbreaks and launch fast, effective responses.”

Workshop produced a set of recommendations and key actions to be taken in different levels of the organization and listed the areas to be further explored in the learning programme.

Participants will continue to use WHO's new learning platform OpenWHO to follow new learning courses, discussions, and briefings related to health emergencies.

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WHO launches new course for fighting epidemics in Africa


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Major epidemics in the 21st century highlight the need for a system to quickly transform scientific knowledge into action on the ground. Knowledge that is understandable and actionable is essential to mounting an effective response to save lives, minimize illness and to prevent unnecessary damage to societies and economies.

"As we launch this new programme of WHO in emergencies, at the core of the reforms is ensuring that WHO's response to infectious disease outbreaks is at the cutting edge," said Dr Peter Salama, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme (WHE).

To maximize expertise-sharing and build-up of competences and common approaches among Infectious Hazards Management personnel at all three levels of the Organization, more than 125 experts will come together for a joint, interactive face-to-face workshop taking place on 21-23 March 2017 in Dakar, Senegal.

"When we have risk in one region, it can also be in another region very quickly because of the density of transport and people moving from one country to the other," said Dr Ibrahima-soce Fall, AFRO Regional Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme (RED/WHA). "We really need to work together to analyze the risk and to have the mechanism for experience sharing."

This workshop will be a culmination of an ongoing online preparation, which currently takes place on the OpenWHO platform. It aims to bring all participants to a similar level of expertise regarding priority diseases and cross-cutting issues in Africa.

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