WHO, World Health Organization

WHO to open office for emergencies and epidemics in Istanbul

The new WHO office in Istanbul will assist countries in Europe and the rest of the world in the prevention and management of health emergencies and outbreaks of infectious diseases.

The WHO (World Health Organisation) will open an office in Istanbul dedicated to assisting Europe in health emergencies, infectious diseases and epidemics, according to an agreement reached between the United Nations agency and the Turkish government, the details of which were published on 28 June in the Official Gazette of the Republic.

It establishes that the WHO delegation in Istanbul will function as an operational unit of the Division of Health Emergencies and Infectious Diseases of the WHO Regional Office for Europe. Its objective will be to strengthen WHO’s capacity to assist member States in prevention, preparedness, risk management and capacity development for humanitarian and health emergencies at European and global level.

Intervention capacity will also be increased to support countries affected by humanitarian emergencies and possible epidemics, and will be activated in response to health disasters. In addition, a training centre will be established that will include an operational support unit to be used in the coordination of simulation exercises.

Finally, the WHO office in Istanbul, which according to the agreement with the Turkish government must take into account all the recommendations required by the Turkish authorities, will provide technical support to the countries to strengthen preparedness and planning for humanitarian and health crises related with massive population movements, including migrants and refugees.