WHO EMRO Weekly Epidemiological Monitor: Volume 11, Issue 33 (19 August 2018)
Current major event
GOARN and outbreak response in EMR
The Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) convened its 23rd steering committee meeting in New York, 20-21 June 2018. The aim of the meeting was to review recent deployments, activities and overall achievements of the network since it was established.
The GOARN steering committee meeting critically appraised recent GOARN response operations, including field deployment to support countries. The WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO) participated in this meeting and shared recent experiences of GOARN deployments, activities undertaken and the outcomes.
In May 2017, EMRO deployed the first two experts from partner institutions in the regional experts through GOARN mechanism. The two epidemiologists were deployed in Somalia to support response to cholera outbreak in the country. The tasks undertaken by the duo included training of health workers, coordination of response activities among key actors in the outbreak response operations, and support for field operations including enhanced surveillance for cholera in the affected districts.
The second deployment of experts from the region was in October 2017. EMRO identified two GOARN experts from the region who were deployed to support response to dengue outbreak in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in Pakistan. The specific activities undertaken by the experts during the mission included review of clinical care practices and training of local clinicians in cases management to improve clinical assessment of suspected cases of the disease, management of severe dengue cases, and overall quality of care.
In February 2018, EMRO deployed a multidisciplinary team of experts from a GOARN partner institution in the Region to Afghanistan. The team including an epidemiologist, a clinician, an entomologist and a virologist. The mission was conducted in response to unusual upsurge in occurrence of Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) cases and associated deaths in the country. The team of experts conducted a comprehensive review of CCHF entomological and disease surveillance, laboratory diagnosis, case management and overall prevention and control capacities. A National Action Plan for CCHF prevention and control has developed based on the recommendations of the technical mission.
GOARN is a global technical partnership that brings together partner institutions to support response to major international public health emergencies. WHO established GOARN in 2000 to improve coordination of international outbreak response and to provide operational framework for delivery of technical support to countries. Currently the network has over 200 partner agencies including technical institutions (See map). Eighteen of these institutions are located in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region.
Since the network was established, over 400 deployments of experts have taken place to some 40 countries. The deployments have been conducted upon the request of countries when their local capacity to respond to specific public health emergencies are overwhelmed.
In the past, most of the GOARN deployments in the EM region to support response to major disease outbreaks were coordinated by the Operational Support Team of the network based in WHO Headquarters, Geneva. In 2012, EMRO initiated steps to expand membership through strengthening GOARN network of partners in the region and to establish capacity to deploy GAORN experts from the regional office. As recent examples have shown, these efforts have been successful and EMRO has deployed GOARN experts to countries in the region in a timely manner to support disease outbreak response.