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The World Health Organization (WHO) is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system.

WHO’s role in the CADRI Partnership is based in the WHO Health Emergencies Programme at country, regional and headquarters levels which helps countries, and coordinates international action, to prevent, prepare for, detect, rapidly respond to, and recover from outbreaks and emergencies.

Specifically, WHO offers the following areas of expertise to the CADRI Partnership:

  • provides guidance and assistance to countries on assessing risks to health and health systems using analyses of hazards, vulnerabilities and capacities and provides global reports on country capacities for health emergency and disaster risk management. WHO coordinates the implementation of four components of the International Health Regulations (2005), namely Annual Reporting, Simulation Exercises, After Action Reviews and Joint External Evaluations.
  • assists countries with the application of tools for monitoring and assessing capacities for managing risks from biological, natural, technological (such as chemical and radiological hazards) and societal sources, which serve as the basis for capacity development plans.
  • provides technical guidance and support to Ministries of Health for strengthening all-hazards health and multi-sectoral disaster risk management policies, strategies and legislation.
  • assists Ministries of Health in fulfilling their role in promoting whole-of-society and inclusive action for health emergency and disaster risk management with attention to sub-populations with specific capacities and needs (e.g., the poor, children, older people, people with disabilities, migrants, pregnant and lactating women, etc.)
  • strengthen health systems aimed at improving the underlying health status of people and managing the risks associated with natural hazards, inclusive of outbreaks and the health effects of climate change, as well as human-induced hazards.
  • supports Ministries of Health and technical departments to integrate health emergency risk management in all aspects of health systems, including national health plans, UN Development Assistance Frameworks and technical areas.
  • designs technical assistance to strengthen the capacity of health systems to deliver safe and quality health services before, during and after emergencies, for example, in trauma care, mental health, environmental health, disease surveillance and response, non-communicable diseases and nutrition.
  • provides support to countries in making hospitals safer and better prepared for emergencies and disasters through the Safe Hospitals Initiative, including guidance, training and tools and technical assistance to assess the safety and preparedness of existing health facilities (using the Hospital Safety Index), and developing new hospitals with a sufficient level of protection to remain being functional at maximum capacity and deliver uninterrupted health services in emergency situations.
  • provides guidance on the protection of water and sanitation systems and chemical and radiation facilities that should apply risk management measures.
  • works with Member States, academia and other learning institutions on the development and delivery of regional and national learning programmes and technical guidance to strengthen the knowledge, skills and attitudes of professionals in health and other sectors for managing the health risks and consequences of disasters.
  • supports risk communication strategies for health workers, households and communities at risk to promote healthy behaviours (e.g., keeping survival kits, simulating drills and evacuation plans) for reducing risks and preparing for emergencies and disasters.
  • provides support for emergency and disaster preparedness including the operational readiness of Member States and WHO (e.g. all-hazards response planning, contingency planning, training, pre-positioning of health supplies, development of surge capacity (including the Emergency Medical Teams and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network), and exercises for health care professionals and other emergency service personnel.
  • supports Member States and partners in the development and implementation of plans for health systems recovery including measures to reduce risks of future disasters through application of best practices and lessons learnt documented from previous disasters.
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CADRI Bulletin 2017

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