Health preparedness and legacy planning at mass gatherings in the EMR: a WHO perspective.

Abstract

1Technical Officer, Global Alert and Response Operations, Global Capacities, Alert and Response, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland. 2Director, Global Capacities, Alert and Response, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland. As more countries commit to hosting large, international mass gatherings, health preparedness planning is requiring more research and collaborative efforts. A growing body of researchers and policy-makers view mass gatherings as important opportunities for positive legacy for the community and visitors. This special edition of the Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal is a good example of a respected scientific publication offering its pages to researchers to share their experiences studying small, medium and large events; religious, sporting and cultural events; one-off events and events that recur in the same location year after year. This work, and the work of others, will help future hosts to assess options, to adapt and build existing systems and to evaluate their effectiveness through the acquired experience and mounting evidence generated by past organizers. The Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) is host to some of the world’s largest mass gatherings. Each year the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia welcomes upwards of 3 million pilgrims from around the world; the Formula 1 motor racing championship is being held in two EMR countries in 2013 and Qatar is set to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022. There are a large number of other mass gatherings in the Region of all sizes and purposes, each with their own specific risks. The World Health Organization (WHO) continues to build an interdisciplinary mass gathering programme that offers guidance, tools and expertise that public health authorities can use before planning an event. This mandate was provided by a decision at the 130th Executive Board Meeting in January 2012 advising the Secretariat to, among other activities, “multisectoral guidance on planning, management, evaluation and monitoring of all types of mass gathering events with specific emphasis on sustainable preventive measures including health education and preparedness”. In response, WHO has developed a three-point strategy for supporting countries with mass gathering health planning:

Cite this paper

@article{Isla2013HealthPA, title={Health preparedness and legacy planning at mass gatherings in the EMR: a WHO perspective.}, author={Nicolas Isla and Isabelle Nuttall}, journal={Eastern Mediterranean health journal = La revue de santé de la Méditerranée orientale = al-Majallah al-ṣiḥḥīyah li-sharq al-mutawassiṭ}, year={2013}, volume={19 Suppl 2}, pages={S7-8} }