By Haruna Gimba
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) have launched a new project to improve emergency response to health crises.
In a joint statement posted on the WHO website, the UN agencies said the project, called INITIATE2, would develop solutions such as field facilities and disease-specific kits.
“Following the recent G20 side event co-hosted by the Italian government and WFP and focused on the role of logistics in current and future health emergencies, WFP and WHO are launching INITIATE2.
“INITIATE2, is a joint project aimed at bringing together emergency actors, research and university institutions, and international and national partners in order to promote the sharing of knowledge and the transfer of skills for a better emergency response to health crises.
“INITIATE2 will develop standardized and innovative solutions such as field installations and disease specific kits and will test these solutions in real scenarios,” the statement read.
According to the press release, the agencies will also train logistics and health workers in their installation and use, thus contributing to their capacity to respond to health crises.
“The project will be developed and replicated in countries for relevant staff, building on past experiences in emergency response.”
The statement quotes Alex Marianelli, WFP’s supply chain director, as saying: “Health emergencies like the response to Ebola in West Africa and the current COVID-19 pandemic have shown how crucial it is to work together as a humanitarian community.
“We are therefore extremely pleased to be able to further consolidate our role as a catalyst for the humanitarian response through this collaboration with WHO. “
Likewise, the statement quoted Dr Ibrahima Soce-Fall, WHO Assistant Director-General for Emergency Response, as saying: “The COVID-19 supply chain system led by WHO and WFP has already illustrated an end-to-end integration of operational impact capabilities.
“With INITIATE2, WFP and WHO are now extending their collaboration to create synergies between the different actors and promote innovation in this critical area, to respond quickly to health emergencies and create an environment conducive to knowledge sharing and transfer.
“This is a great example of how we can adapt and align emergency preparedness, preparedness and response.”