#SocialNET - A WHO network of trained social scientists to work in health emergencies

enter image description here

The 21st century poses new and persistent challenges in detecting and managing infectious hazards: severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), influenza and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) are examples that can be added to more recent health emergencies, such as Ebola or Zika. These outbreaks and epidemics have highlighted the need to systematically include social science-based interventions (SSI) in any health emergency response.

While medical anthropologists and social scientists have been part of outbreak response teams in the past, recent outbreaks underscored the fact that most social scientists are not systematically embedded into response operations and there is no framework to consider their inputs and advice to inform real-time decision-making by incident managers, emergency operations centre leads and others.

WHO has therefore established SocialNET, a network of social scientists with the required qualifications and operational experiences to work in epidemics, pandemics and other health emergencies.

There are currently 24 social scientists trained and available to be deployed to countries in need for support in preparedness and response to health emergencies.

The SocialNET network is composed of a pool of social scientists trained to work as part of the health operations in the field, in close collaboration with key stakeholders, including focal persons for community engagement, risk communication and public communication.

They are ready to deploy to countries during non-emergency periods to help build capacity for integrating social science-based approaches and interventions for emergency response, build up baseline social and cultural data that relate to known risky behaviours, and mitigate health risks.

All social scientists within the pool have underwent an intense WHO training on how to work in health emergencies. The training consisted of three parts: 1) An online course on OpenWHO, a WHO training platform for health emergencies; 2) A face-to-face classroom discussions and exercises; and 3) A face-to-face simulation exercise to put theory into practice.

"Incident Management System" course now available in French / Le cours «Système de gestion des incidents» désormais disponible en français

We are pleased to announce the online course “Incident Management System” on OpenWHO, now both in English and in French. You can access the English version of the course through the following link: https://openwho.org/courses/incident-management-system

First tier of a series of training developed by the WHO's Health Emergencies Programme (WHE), this course aims at strengthening WHO staff competencies, skills and knowledge to enhance WHE’s deployment and response capability. It includes four animated modules covering an introduction to emergency management, WHO’s role in emergencies, the emergency response framework and the incident management system. You will have the opportunity to participate on the course discussion board, share experiences and gain insights from other experts working in this field.

This first tier corresponds with the mandatory minimum package that all personnel being deployed on a WHO health emergency response must complete. Any organization or person external to WHO that will be deployed in response to a health emergency is encouraged to participate.

The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete. A certificate will be issued upon completion of the course material.

Hoping to count you among the participants, the OpenWHO team whished you a successful training!

C’est avec un grand plaisir que nous vous annonçons le cours en ligne « Système de gestion des incidents » sur OpenWHO en français. Vous pouvez accéder au cours via le lien suivant: https://openwho.org/courses/systeme-de-gestion-des-incidents/

Premier d’une série de cours développée par le Programme d'urgence de l'Organisation mondiale de la santé (WHE), ce cours a pour objectif de renforcer les compétences et les connaissances du personnel de l'OMS pour le déploiement et les interventions d'urgence. Ce cours comporte quatre modules animés couvrant une introduction à la gestion des urgences, le rôle de l’OMS dans les urgences, le cadre d’intervention d’urgence et le système de gestion des incidents. Vous aurez l’opportunité de participer à un forum de discussion pour partager vos expériences et échanger des idées avec d'autres experts travaillant dans ce domaine.

Toute personne déployée sur une réponse d'urgence sanitaire de l'OMS doit compléter ce cours. Les organisations et personnes externes à l’OMS déployées sur une réponse à une urgence sanitaire sont également encouragées à participer.

Le cours dure environ 3 heures. Un certificat sera délivré en fin de formation.

En espérant vous compter parmi les participants, l’équipe OpenWHO vous souhaite un bon apprentissage!

Strengthening WHO's capacity for infectious hazard management

enter image description here

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.

enter image description here

“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.

enter image description here

WHO launches new course for fighting epidemics in Africa

enter image description here

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.


Your request has been sent to our support team, and will be answered as soon as possible.

Thank You!

Oops something went wrong.