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Health Security

Protecting populations by preparing, preventing, detecting, and responding to public health threats

Options draws on national and global expertise to support countries to build strong, resilient, and inclusive health systems that protect people, including marginalised groups, from adverse public health events and minimise disruption to essential services. 

How we’re improving health security

Strengthening resilience to respond to ordinary health events

We focus on strengthening core capabilities at a health system level to detect and contain pre-crisis events. We ensure that health systems are resilient enough to continue providing essential services in the event of an outbreak escalating to an epidemic or a pandemic.

Bringing sectors together through a national ‘One Health’ platform

Health security depends on strengthening collaboration between stakeholders across the animal, environmental and human health sectors. We bring together these multiple actors and enhance their capacities for coordinated action. We support governments and partners to also think and work politically, fostering collaboration across sectors and geographies to address existing and emerging threats to health security. These threats include population growth, environmental degradation and antimicrobial resistance. Our approach involves ensuring effective domestic resource mobilisation and coordinated bilateral and multilateral funding prior to and during emergencies.

Engaging civil society and other non-state actors in emergency preparedness and response and health sector reform

Strengthening formal and informal community systems is vital for emergency preparedness and response, whether through surveillance, risk communication or building institutional trust. We take a ‘whole of society’ approach by engaging with civil society organisations (CSOs) and other non-state actors. We also work closely with grassroots organisations to create demand for, and encourage the use of, health services by raising awareness, reducing stigma, and addressing access barriers, including those related to gender and disability.

Supporting inclusive emergency response

We support national and sub-national governments and civil society to respond to the specific needs of young people, older people, people with disabilities including mental health conditions, and others who are marginalised during emergencies. We have strengthened public health messaging to be inclusive and accessible and adapted our health service preparedness tools for psychiatric care settings during the COVID-19 pandemic.