How to declare a public health emergency

Yesterday, 1st February 2016, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. A PHEIC is an ‘extraordinary event’ which constitutes a public health risk to other communities through the international spread of disease and would potentially require an international response to bring it under control. This declaration was made following increasing concern about the spread of the Zika virus disease and its link to cases of babies born with microcephaly and other neurological disorders in Brazil. This declaration has a purpose – it will spur into action an international response. Continue reading

The US vs. Spain: How each country has handled Ebola so far

An article from the Spanish newspaper, El Pais, which is interesting because it addresses some of the actions, decisions and uncertainties implicated in the work of responding to an emergency in its comparison of the response to Ebola in the US and Spain:

  • Detection and diagnosis, and the uncertainty
  • Activation, relating to the point at which an event is named an emergency (or a crisis, or a disaster…), and how special measures or protocol are implemented
  • Monitoring work, to track an event, or to identify other cases
  • Recovery
  • Communication to stakeholders, at what point does this happen, and how the event is communicated.