|dc.description||The global scale of risks and needs associated with outbreaks and emergencies with health consequences is unprecedented. Their frequency and complexity are stretching the resources of the international community and WHO as never before. Since 2000, the world has faced a series of major public health emergencies and humanitarian crises. Currently, over 80 million people globally require humanitarian assistance.
Over the years, the Region has witnessed several events like SARS, H5N1, the tsunami of 2004; Cyclone Sidr (2007); Cyclone Nargis (2008); Sri Lanka complex emergency (2009); Kosi river floods (2009); Rakhine complex emergency (2012); and recently, the Nepal earthquake in 2015. Preparedness measures and capacity-building initiatives of the Region were put to test and proved effective during the Nepal earthquake. The ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa also saw the mobilization of resources from the South-East Asia Region to respond to this global emergency.
In various WHO governing body meetings, the international community has clearly indicated that it wants and expects WHO to play the leadership, coordination and operational roles that are required to effectively prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from outbreaks and emergencies with health consequences. WHO has clear responsibilities as custodian of the International Health Regulations (2005) and is the lead agency for the health cluster. The capacities to implement these roles, therefore, need to be strengthened.
With this global demand and regional occurances, the Director-General has called for reforms in WHO’s work in emergencies. Clearly, the Regional Director’s flagship priority on strengthening country capacities in emergency risk management has positioned the Region to meet this global expectation and regional need. Continuous investment in improving the capacity of the WHO country offices in tandem with supporting more disaster-resilient health systems is key to addressing the lessons from past events.
The attached working paper was presented to the High-Level Preparatory (HLP) Meeting for its review and recommendations. The recommendations made by the HLP meeting for consideration to the Sixty-eighth Session of the Regional Committee are:
Actions by Member States
(1) Expedite efforts and increase investments to scale up emergency risk management capacities covering IHR 2005 and SEAR benchmarks on Emergency Preparedness and Response.
(2) Facilitate cooperation between concerned stakeholders to make health facilities structurally safer and functional even during disasters.
Actions by WHO
(1) Scale up support to Member States to attain comprehensive capacities for emergency risk management through the regional flagship programme.
(2) Advocate and provide technical support for keeping health facilities safer in disasters from all hazards in countries.
(3) Document lessons learnt from various emergencies and facilitate learning across countries.||EN