After Action Review

Recommended after an actual public health event

The After Action Review (AAR) is a qualitative, structured review of the actions taken in response to an actual public health event as a means of identifying and documenting best practices, gaps and lessons.  The review seeks to identify immediate and longer term corrective actions for future responses. An AAR can focus on a single, specific function or on a broad set of functions, covering one or more sectors involved in the response.

The benefits of an AAR

The AAR allows learning from an actual experience.

WHO tools

  • Practical manual for planning, conducting and evaluating an AAR
  • Training, to build capacity for independent planning and conduct of an AAR
  • Developing a network to exchange experiences, best practices and lessons learned
AAR processAAR types


  • What should have happened?
  • What actually happened?

Single or multi-function review - narrow scope

  • An in-depth review of a particular function or a few functions for maximizing specific learning opportunities


  • What worked?
  • What did not work?

Health sector review – medium scope

  • A review of all aspects of a response focusing on the health sector and collaboration within the health sector


  • What action should be taken to improve response capacities?

Multisectoral review – full scale

  • A review of all aspects of the response to manage health consequences, including collaboration with other sectors, partners and/or countries