100 million cases in 100 weeks: towards better COVID-19 outcomes in the WHO European Region – Global
Two years of COVID-19 pandemic: new report highlights 100 weeks of WHO/Europe’s efforts to protect lives and livelihoods
March 11, 2022 is a grim milestone as we mark 2 years since the WHO classified the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic – a health emergency that spans countries and continents. Since cases of COVID-19 were first reported, more than 6 million people have died from the disease globally, including more than 1.8 million in the WHO European Region.
New WHO/Europe report “One Hundred Weeks of Emergency Response, One Hundred Million Cases of COVID-19: Towards better COVID-19 outcomes in the WHO European Region” outlines achievements of the WHO/Europe COVID-19 Incident Management Support Team (IMST) – the mechanism activated to deal with emergencies – since its establishment in early 2020, when the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in the European Region, up to 2022. It also includes an overview of the work of the operational teams during this period, as they supported some Member States in the Region to meet the challenges of a global pandemic.
Quoted in the report, Dr Dorit Nitzan, former Regional Director for Emergencies for WHO/Europe, said: “The COVID-19 Incident Management Team has been the driving force behind WHO’s response /Europe to COVID-19 by generating knowledge and operationalizing it in countries with governments and partners”.
Working to meet country needs
The report details IMST’s work and the impact of its COVID-19 responses across various functions, including surveillance, public health and social metrics, risk communication and community engagement, clinical and health services, essential health services, vaccines and operations, showing how each of these pillars has contributed to meeting country needs in three key areas:
strategic, providing continuously updated technical guidelines and recommendations, combined with capacity building activities such as webinars and trainings;
technical, providing global and regional expertise, channeling financial resources and getting essential supplies to where they are needed most; and
operational, by providing ongoing country-specific support through field deployments and missions with technical experts, and through remote technical assistance.
Commenting on the launch of the report, Dr Gerald Rockenschaub, recently appointed Regional Director for Emergencies for WHO/Europe, said: “This new report highlights how much the expertise and flexibility of IMST over the past two years have been crucial in providing Member States with the most timely information and appropriate support to deal with a complex and constantly changing situation. Through solidarity, perseverance and patience, we can defeat this virus together.”