WHO in emergencies

Djibouti carries out mass immunization to protect children against polio, amid outbreaks in the Horn of Africa

5 December 2018 – Early analysis of campaign data points to a successful vaccination round in a polio-free country at risk of possible importation. In the last week of October, Djibouti’s Ministry of Health, working with WHO, UNICEF and other partners, successfully carried out the country’s first polio National Immunization Days (NIDs) since 2015.

WHO supplies being delivered to Aleppo in 2017

WHO update on reported chemical event in Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic

29 November 2018 – At around midnight on 24 November 2018, WHO received unconfirmed reports of patients arriving in health facilities in Aleppo with symptoms that might be consistent with exposure to chemical agents. At approximately the same time, the United Nations Department of Safety and Security office in Syria reported unconfirmed information that the Al-Zahraa, Al-Khaldiyyeh and Nile Street areas of Aleppo city had been shelled with rounds of mortar fire that included an unknown type of gas. According to unconfirmed reports, dozens of patients were being admitted to Aleppo’s two public hospitals.

WHO/Syrian Arab Republic
WHO delivers medical supplies to Shirqat General Hospital.

Lifesaving medical supplies reach Shirqat for Iraqi flood victims

28 November 2018 Baghdad – The World Health Organization (WHO) has dispatched a consignment of lifesaving medicines, medical kits and other supplies to Shirqat General Hospital in the north of Salah al-Din Governorate. The consignment contained more than 13 tons of supplies, including trauma, surgical and health emergency kits, sufficient to treat a population of 10 000 for three months. The supplies will help local health authorities meet the increased demand for first line and emergency health care services following the flash floods that have severely affected the district of Shirqat.


Malaria control campaign launched in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to save lives and aid Ebola response

28 November 2018 Beni -- A spike in malaria cases is threatening the health of people in parts of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where health workers are also battling an Ebola outbreak. In response, a four-day mass drug administration (MDA) campaign was launched today in the Northern Kivu province town of Beni, with a target to reach up to 450 000 people with anti-malarial drugs combined with the distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets.

Displaced or refugee women are at increased risk of violence. What can WHO do?

23 November 2018 - Estimated 1 in 3 women around the world have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner. Whilst this is a worldwide figure, there is variation in the prevalence of violence seen within and between communities, countries and regions. In South Sudan one-third of the women reported sexual violence by a non-partner, with many incidents related to a raid, displacement or abduction. The risk of violence to women in the humanitarian emergency settings is even greater, because of the broken social and protective networks.

The impact of undernutrition in Yemen

23 November 2018 -- Yasmeen from Yemen is only 8-months old. She lies in Al-Thawra hospital in Hodeidah. Like many of the severely malnourished children in this hospital she doesn’t cry. Her little body is lethargic and feeble; it lacks the energy to cry.

In this WHO-supported clinic, severely malnourished Yemenis children find help. The most critical cases are those who are not only malnourished but also have medical complications, like respiratory tract infections, severe anaemia, dehydration, and no appetite.

Ethiopia to vaccinate more than 1 million people against yellow fever

16 November 2018, Addis Ababa -– The Ethiopian Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners, today started a second vaccination campaign to protect high-risk populations against yellow fever. More than 1.3 million people will be protected in this seven day campaign, which follows a smaller, more focused campaign in October.


Outbreaks and crises

Map showing emergencies around the world that has a WHO grading, 2016.

WHO has an essential role to play in supporting Member States to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies with public health consequences.

What we do

From prevention through preparedness to early warning, response, and early recovery, the WHO Health Emergencies programme is operational.


Health crisis in Central African Republic.
WHO/C. Black

WHO thanks all of the contributors that provide funding or in-kind contribution for WHO’s work for emergencies.


WHO coordinates the international health response to emergencies and humanitarian crises, but we cannot do this work without our partners who help us deliver health services in even the most difficult situations.

Behind the headlines

At any one time, dozens of infectious disease outbreaks are happening around the world. In this special feature, we visit a series of recent health emergencies, telling the stories behind the headlines and exploring the many different dimensions of an outbreak response.

R&D Blueprint

Illustration of lab equipment.

The R&D Blueprint is a global strategy and preparedness plan to ensure that targeted R&D can strengthen the emergency response by bringing medical technologies to patients during epidemics.


WHO training on personal protective equipment during the Ebola outbreak in Guinea

The Director-General has established an Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee for the WHO Health Emergencies Programme (IOAC), to provide oversight and monitoring of the development and performance of the Programme and to guide the Programme’s activities.



Each issue of the Health Emergency Highlights contains information on the current humanitarian context, the health priorities and response operations