Training and learning

Training and learning

Today’s health emergencies are increasingly complex. We live in a globalized, urbanized and connected world where people, vectors and goods are constantly on the move. These movements amplify the threats to our health from infectious hazards, natural disasters, armed conflicts and other emergencies wherever they occur.

Past crises have taught us that even the most qualified personnel require continued learning to respond safely and effectively to these 21st century threats. We need a ready, willing and able workforce – a workforce for excellence – that can be called upon to help save lives, reduce disease and suffering, and minimize socio-economic loss to affected communities and countries.

That’s why the WHO Health Emergencies Programme is prioritizing learning and training as it works to meet WHO’s ambitious target of ensuring one billion people are better protected from health emergencies. In October 2018, the Programme established a new Learning and Capacity Development unit and launched its first-ever Learning Strategy to guide all training and learning activities across the country, regional and global levels.

The Learning Strategy commits to creating a coherent, coordinated and high-quality approach and standards for learning to build WHO’s health emergency workforce and surge capacity supported by partners. It was developed by a 100-member task team and external consultants, with inputs from staff across the three levels of the Organization.


WHO Learning Strategy

The WHE team responsible for health emergency training is helping to develop a Learning Strategy for the future of public health that will include not only trainings in the domain of health emergencies, but for all aspects of public health to reach our Triple Billion goal and SDG3.


A learning strategy to create a ready, willing and able workforce – a workforce of excellence – for health emergency work

Training opportunities

Risk communication

Risk communication refers to the real-time exchange of information, advice and opinions between experts or officials and people who face a threat (hazard) to their survival, health or economic or social well-being.

Risk communication training

The Emergency Communications Network

The Emergency Communications Network (ECN) is a reserve health workforce for emergencies. WHO’s flagship ECN training is designed to build a cohort of trained, tested and trusted communication officers.

Emergency Communications Network

Training and learning partnerships

Our training and learning partnerships aim to increase the quality of all health emergency related trainings and make sure that personnel are equipped with the latest knowledge and skills to manage disease outbreaks and other health emergencies. Partnerships also help bring coordination and coherence to trainings carried out by different entities.

Ministries of health and national health agencies are foremost amongst our training partners. UN agencies and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as IFRC and MSF are regular collaborators in training and learning. NGOs and civil society are accessing WHO’s trainings for emergency work and several have expressed a willingness to collaborate in the development of training courses as well as their roll-out in priority countries.

We are also tapping into advanced training initiatives through the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) and the Global Health Cluster.

Strategic partnerships for Pandemic and Epidemic Diseases Knowledge Transfer and Trainings are at the core of the global outbreak knowledge transfer and training systems. Partners enrich WHO’s own work, bring unique perspectives and capacities and allow us to be able to have the capacity to rapidly scale-up in response to major emergencies.

Contact us

For more information about training and learning in health emergencies, or if your agency is interested in collaborating more closely with the WHO Health Emergencies Programme's training work, please contact:




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