WHO/Europe and GOARN deliver state-of-the-art training to strengthen emergency response

WHO/Alex Ruswelt

Outbreak investigation team collecting information from a survivor of an unknown disease during the simulation exercise.

The Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), in collaboration with WHO/Europe, conducted an extensive training of 24 public health experts from 22 countries to improve rapid and effective field response to outbreaks and health emergencies.

The training took place in Lisbon and Évora, Portugal, from 9 to 15 July 2017. It provided a highly realistic field setting and employed a scenario-based simulation exercise in various locations, including the capital city. It tested technical, operational and logistical requirements to ensure a coordinated, effective response to an outbreak of unknown origin.

“The skills we learned in the simulation of communication and engagement [of all stakeholders including the community] led to the essential collaboration required in an outbreak response to effectively and timely stop the disease and save lives – skills that we can directly translate in our response work in the field,” described one participant.

The training was generously cohosted by the Directorate-General of Health and the National Institute of Health, Portugal.


GOARN is a WHO-established network of more than 200 technical institutions and networks globally. It responds to new public health events with the deployment of staff and resources to affected countries.