Rapid detection and verification of health emergencies is essential to save lives. WHO’s global surveillance system picks up public health threats 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Once an event is verified, WHO assesses the level of risk and sounds the alarm to help protect populations from the consequences of outbreaks, disasters, conflict and other hazards. Within 48 hours of an emergency, WHO:
- grades the severity of the event;
- activates the incident management system with a designated team functioning out of emergency operating centres in Geneva, and in the regional and country offices;
- releases funds from WHO’s Contingency Fund for Emergencies;
- deploys field teams and activates global stockpiles of essential supplies, including personal protective equipment, medicines, and vaccines;
- establishes network communication systems and base camps, where needed;
- communicates the risk to the community and neighbouring countries through official International Health Regulations (2005) procedures, Disease Outbreak News and social media;
- activates the Global Health Cluster, the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), emergency medical teams and standby partners.