About the programme
Emerging and re-emerging epidemic diseases pose an ongoing threat to global health security, and a large number of infectious disease outbreaks occur in the African region each year. To mitigate the devastating effects of infectious disease outbreaks and other events caused by non-infectious hazards on health, technical expertise and scientific knowledge are essential for the development of effective control strategies.
The mission of the Infectious Hazards Management (IHM) Programme area within the WHO Health Emergencies Programme (WHE) is to fulfill the mandate established by WHO’s Twelfth General Programme of Work 2014–19, which calls for “reducing mortality, morbidity and societal disruption resulting from epidemics through prevention, preparedness, response and recovery activities.” The Regional Strategy for Health Security and Emergencies 2016–2020 further specifies the priorities of WHO’s work in emergencies as the management of infectious and non-infectious hazards using an All Hazards approach. The All Hazards approach recognizes that different hazards often challenge the health system in similar ways, thus, risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response actions and community recovery activities are usually implemented along the same model, regardless of the cause. IHM works with other WHE teams to provide pre-event preparedness and technical information products and contributes to response activities.
Lessons learned from recent and ongoing epidemics and pandemics have indicated that it is crucial to:
- Rapidly characterize pathogens and assess their virulence
- Build capacity for management of pathogens and non-infectious agents
- Expand partnerships to increase depth and breadth of disease response efforts and ensure more effective and efficient coordination of responses
- Maintain global stockpiles of vaccines and medications to ensure timely and equitable access to life-saving interventions
To achieve this mission, the work of IHM is focused on building and strengthening:
- Knowledge – IHM contributes to WHO’s normative role by producing tools, guidelines, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the control of infectious and non-infectious hazards may threaten global health security, using the All Hazards approach. IHM also provides technical support to countries and communities to prevent and control infectious and non-infectious hazards. This includes deploying technical field assistance and helping strengthen national preparedness and response plans.
- Capacity – for outbreak management and response and maintenance of readiness and country capacities, IHM works closely with the Country Health Emergency Preparedness and IHR (CPI) Programme area to assess and strengthen epidemic preparedness activities.
- Partnership and networks – IHM aims to strengthen expert networks so that information is readily accessible and available to address all components of events caused by infectious or non-infectious agents. These include but are not limited to: the identification of agents, characterization of pathogens, assessment of risk and clinical severity of disease, and hazard management.
For further information, please contact:
Dr Mamoudou Harouna Djingarey
Programme Area Manager, Infectious Hazard Management
WHO Health Emergencies Programme
WHO Regional Office for Africa
djingareyh [at] who.int