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WFP, WHO launch INITIATE2 to improve emergency response to health crises
The World Food Program (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are launching INITIATE2, 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 standardized, innovative solutions such as disease-specific field facilities and kits and test these solutions in real-life scenarios. 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.
“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, and so we’re extremely pleased to be able to further cement our role as an enabler of humanitarian response through this collaboration with WHO,” said Alex Marianelli, WFP Director of Supply Chain.
“The WHO-WFP-led COVID-19 Supply Chain System has already illustrated an end-to-end integration of technical and operational capacities for impact,” said Dr Ibrahima Soce-Fall, Assistant Director-General for Emergencies Response, WHO. “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 harmonize emergency preparedness, readiness, and response.”
The initiative will combine WFP and WHO’s technical expertise and will leverage the existing infrastructure of the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot in Brindisi, the first in a network of six strategically located hubs around the world which store and dispatch relief items on behalf of the humanitarian community. INITIATE2 will capitalise on these facilities and experience: the Brindisi hub is regularly used to organize large-scale emergency simulations and hosts the UNHRD Lab, where innovative emergency response products are developed and tested.