The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have launched a new project to improve emergency response to health crises.
In a joint statement posted on WHO website, the UN agencies said the project, called INITIATE2, would develop solutions such as disease-specific field facilities and kits.
It stated: “Following the recent G20 side event co-hosted by the Italian Government and the WFP focusing on the role of logistics in current and future health emergencies, WFP and WHO are launching INITIATE2.
“INITIATE2, is a joint project to bring together emergency actors, research and academic institutions, and international and national partners to promote knowledge sharing and skills transfer for improved emergency response to health crises.
“INITIATE2 will develop standardised, innovative solutions such as disease-specific field facilities and kits and test these solutions in real-life scenarios.’’
According to the statement, the agencies will also train logistics and health responders on their installation and use, contributing to their capacity to respond in health crises.
“The project will be developed and replicated in countries for relevant personnel, building on past experiences in emergency response.’’
The statement quoted Alex Marianelli, WFP Director of Supply Chain, as saying, “Health emergencies like the West Africa Ebola response and the current COVID-19 pandemic have shown just how crucial working together as a humanitarian community is.
“So, we’re extremely pleased to be able to further cement our role as an enabler of humanitarian response through this collaboration with WHO.’’
Similarly, the statement quoted Dr Ibrahima Soce-Fall, Assistant Director-General for Emergencies Response, WHO, as saying, “The WHO-WFP-led COVID-19 Supply Chain System has already illustrated an end-to-end integration of technical and operational capacities for impact.
“With INITIATE2, WFP and WHO are now extending the collaboration to build synergies among different actors and foster innovation in this critical field, to quickly respond to health emergencies and create a conducive environment for knowledge sharing and skills transfer.
“This is an excellent example of how we can scale and harmonise emergency preparedness, readiness, and response.”
By Cecilia Ologunagba