Communities across the world are facing many risks associated with health emergencies and disasters, which include infectious disease outbreaks, natural hazards, conflicts, poor sanitation, traffic accidents, and other sources of risk. Hazardous events often result in physical or mental consequences, and Health Emergency Disaster Risk Management is vital to protecting people’s well-being from emergencies and disasters. Annually, 190 million people are affected by emergencies from natural and technological hazards, while a further 172 million are affected by conflict. From 2012-2017, the WHO recorded over 1,200 new- or re-emerging infectious disease outbreaks across 168 countries, with great impact on morbidity, mortality and disability. Health systems have a central role in managing the risk and reducing consequences of emergency situation. A single emergency can set back development gains in public health and other sectors by decades.
Along with its partner countries, GX will support emergency programmes through partnership building with local health authorities and organizations to address any necessary and unmet needs. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong (China), GX distributed face masks to communities in need, such as elderly homes and community centres, which offers the elderly population a level of protection and comfort from virus transmission. This was coupled with health education materials on basic hygiene practices and transmission prevention.