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Community Protection Partners Meeting: Putting Communities at the Forefront of Health Emergency Management

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On the 7th of May 2024, from 12:00 to 16:00 CET, stakeholders convened for the Community Protection Partners Meeting, underscoring the pivotal role of communities in health emergency management.

In 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) Member States rallied behind a proposal from the WHO Director-General, advocating for a fortified Health Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Resilience (HEPR) global architecture. At the heart of this framework lies Community Protection, a fundamental component aimed at safeguarding the health and well-being of individuals and communities amidst crises.

Community protection entails prioritizing the involvement of affected individuals and communities in decision-making processes and actions designed to shield their health and welfare. This encompasses three interrelated spheres of activity:

Technical Approaches: Engaging and involving affected communities through initiatives such as community engagement, risk communication, and infodemic management. These endeavors guide priority actions and fortify community resilience.

Population and Environmental Public Health Interventions: Implementing interventions to manage outbreaks and mitigate their health repercussions on affected populations.

Multisectoral Action: Addressing and mitigating the social and economic fallout of emergencies and their responses.

Hosted by the Community Readiness and Resilience Unit within the Country Readiness Strengthening Department of WHO’s Health Emergency Programme, the event united global and local networks of multilateral organizations, partner agencies, civil society groups, and others working with at-risk or affected communities. Through a series of presentations and moderated panel discussions, the meeting aimed to:

Review Progress: Assess the advancement of community-centered health emergency management practices facilitated by diverse stakeholders across the partner ecosystem.

Identify Challenges and Opportunities: Examine exemplary practices, hurdles encountered, and critical actions necessary for enhancing community protection.

Foster Collaboration: Discuss mechanisms for collaboration and partnership while strengthening the interconnected network for community protection.

A primary objective of the gathering was to delineate progress, identify gaps, and outline priorities for action to achieve fortified community protection outcomes.

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