WHO in emergencies

Vaccination campaign in Kutupalong camp, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh

Enabling quick action to save lives – the Contingency Fund for Emergencies

March 2018 — Since its launch in 2015, the Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE) has been providing funding during the critical gap between the moment the need for an emergency response is identified and the point at which resources from other financing mechanisms begin to flow. To date, the fund has made more than 60 emergency allocations for a total of $ 46 million in response to disease outbreaks and humanitarian emergencies with health consequences.

A pledging conference for the CFE will take place on Monday 26 March 2018 from 14:00 to 17:00 in the WHO headquarters.


On the trail of Lassa fever in southern Nigeria

21 March 2018 - Nafissa Ikerodah is both a detective and diplomat of sorts. On a Saturday morning in early March, the Disease Surveillance Officer in Edo State area rushes to a household where a man has just died of Lassa fever.

The young father left behind two sons who show symptoms of the infectious disease. Nafissa wants to get the children to a hospital as quickly as possible. One boy is so weak he can barely stand.

On 6 December 2017, Abu Kholoud, from Raqqa, stands for a portrait with his daughter in Ain Issa Camp in Raqqa governorate, Syrian Arab Republic. <br><br>WHO provides health services for camp residents through a fix health centre and a mobile health team

Seven years of Syria’s health tragedy

14 March 2018 - After seven years of conflict in Syria, WHO has renewed its call for the protection of health workers and for immediate access to besieged populations.

Attacks on the health sector have continued at an alarming level in the past year. The 67 verified attacks on health facilities, workers, and infrastructure recorded during the first two months of 2018 amount to more than 50% of verified attacks in all of 2017.

WHO/L. Mackenzie

Revamp of the plague detection in Madagascar yields quick and sustainable wins

13 March 2018 - WHO has implemented drastic changes in plague detection in Madagascar that led to rapid decline in severity and scope of the outbreak, until it was declared over in late November 2017. The time between sample collection and laboratory analysis was reduced from days to just a few hours, significantly improving survival and reduction of complications in those infected.

Improved systems that were put in place during the outbreak should now be used for sustained detection and response to identify new cases that are expected until the end of the plague season in April 2018.


2018 annual review of the Blueprint list of priority diseases

9 March 2018 - WHO has developed a special tool to identify pathogens that pose a public health risk because of their epidemic potential and for which there are no, or insufficient, countermeasures. The diseases identified through this process are the focus of the work of R&D Blueprint.

The 2nd annual review was carried out on 6-7 February 2018, and the list of blueprint priority diseases includes: Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, Ebola virus disease and Marburg virus disease, Lassa fever, MERS-CoV, SARS, Nipah and henipaviral diseases, Rift Valley fever, Zika virus disease and disease X.


Nigeria battles its largest Lassa fever outbreak on record

1 March 2018 - The current Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria shows an increasing trend in the number of cases and deaths in recent weeks with 317 confirmed cases reported in 2018 so far. This is the largest outbreak of Lassa fever ever reported in Nigeria.

Lassa fever is endemic in the West African countries of Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Benin, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Togo and Nigeria. As of 22 February 2018, 10 suspected cases who fell ill in Nigeria were reported in Benin, and confirmed cases have been reported from Beninese states that border Nigeria.

Nasser (right) and his son, grandson and a friend in their tent in Ain Issa Camp.

Medicine on the move

WHO ramps up health support to camps in northeastern Syria in response to huge population movements

WHO/L. Mackenzie
Nigeria set to vaccinate 25 million people, its biggest yellow fever campaign ever

Nigeria set to vaccinate 25 million people, its biggest yellow fever campaign ever

24 January 2018, Abuja - The Government of Nigeria launched a mass vaccination campaign to prevent the spread of yellow fever on January 25 with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners. More than 25 million people will be vaccinated throughout 2018, in the largest yellow fever vaccination drive in the country’s history.


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.


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

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.