Following the recent G20 side event co-hosted by the Italian government and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on the role of logistics in current and future health emergencies, WFP and the World Health Organization (WHO) have launched INITIATE2, a collaborative effort that brings together emergency responders, academic and research organizations, as well as international and national partners, to enhance knowledge sharing and skills transfer in the face of health crises.
INITIATE2 will provide standardized, novel solutions, such as disease-specific field facilities and kits, and test them in real-world settings. The organizations will also teach logistical and health responders on how to install and use them, enhancing their ability to respond to health emergencies. Building on previous emergency response experiences, the initiative will be developed and reproduced in other countries for necessary individuals.
Health emergencies such as the Ebola response in West Africa and the current COVID-19 epidemic have demonstrated the importance of working together as a humanitarian community.
The COVID-19 Supply Chain System, led by the WHO and the World Food Programme, has already demonstrated an end-to-end integration of technical and operational capacities for impact. WFP and WHO are now extending their engagement with INITIATE2 in order to stimulate innovation and generate synergies among different actors in this crucial field, as well as to promptly respond to health emergencies and create a favorable environment for information sharing and skills transfer.
The effort will combine WFP and WHO technical skills and will take advantage of the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Brindisi, the first of a network of six strategically situated hubs across the world that store and distribute relief materials on behalf of the humanitarian community. INITIATE2 will take advantage of these resources and expertise: the Brindisi hub is often used to conduct large-scale disaster simulations and houses the UNHRD Lab, which develops and tests novel emergency response technologies.