Areas of focus

Health emergencies

Health emergencies are increasing in number, and becoming more complex.

Health emergencies

Facts and figures

It’s a growing concern



people are estimated to need humanitarian assistance.

1 in 5


in the world is personally affected by conflict.

8 in 10


of infectious disease occur in fragile settings.

Invest in resilience


of major epidemics

prevention costs are less than 1% of the total spent on tackling COVID-19.



total cost to the global economy of Zika virus outbreaks.



can be saved for every $1 invested in risk reduction and prevention (source: UNDRR).

The WHO’s unique
role in health emergencies

Builds resilience

The World Health Organization (WHO) trains health workers to prepare for emergencies and acts as the UN’s first responder for health in a crisis.

Global surveillance

WHO’s surveillance systems networks detect health threats and share warnings in a timely and coordinated manner.

Efficient delivery

WHO procures essential medicines and health supplies at scale, saving time, money and cutting through red tape.

Health leadership

WHO advocates passionately for the people most in need of healthcare on the world stage.

Workforce expertise

WHO coordinates emergency medical teams deployed by countries worldwide to meet urgent surgical and health needs.

Staying power

WHO has a long-standing commitment in the countries affected. Its presence, staying-power and access to health decision makers is unparalleled.

More about WHO’s work here