WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health
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PERSPECTIVE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 37-42

Building operational readiness for responding to emergencies in the WHO South-East Asia Region


1 World Health Organization Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia, New Delhi, India
2 Independent consultant, Geneva, Switzerland
3 World Health Organization Emergency Sub-Office, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh

Correspondence Address:
Dr Arturo Pesigan
World Health Organization Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia, New Delhi
India
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DOI: 10.4103/2224-3151.282994

PMID: 32341220

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has an essential role to play in supporting Member States to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies with public health consequences. Operational readiness for known and unknown hazards and emergencies requires a risk-informed and structured approach to building capacities within organizations such as WHO offices and national ministries of health. Under the flagship priority programme on emergency risk management of the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia, a readiness training programme consisting of four modules was implemented during 2017–2018, involving staff from WHO country offices as well as from the regional office. The experience of and lessons learnt from designing, developing and delivering this phased training programme have fed into improvements in the curriculum and training methodology. The training programme has also facilitated the development of business continuity plans and contingency plans in some of the 11 Member States of the region and has increased the readiness of WHO staff for swift deployment in recent emergencies. It is recommended that the strengthening of operational readiness for responding to emergencies in the region be sustained and accelerated through the development of a regional training consortium that can scale the training programme up at national level, taking into account country contexts, national health systems and the needs of populations. The resilience of the populations and health systems in the region will be increased if disaster risk reduction and emergency preparedness and response activities are supported by operational readiness.


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