Coronavirus: how the WHO manages the emergency from its operational center in Dubai

According to the WHO, global demand has exceeded the capacity of the manufacturing sector to produce protective equipment against Covid-19 (illustration). Karim SAHIB / AFP

Text by: RFI Follow

2 min

Around the world, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to progress. To respond to the emergency, the operational and logistics center of the WHO sends medical supplies almost daily to the countries most affected by the disease. At the head of the beneficiaries, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria and even Libya. But this center based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, assists the world. More than 100 countries have already benefited from humanitarian aid since the onset of the health crisis.


Read more

With our correspondent in Dubai, Nicolas Keraudren

This is an unprecedented situation. In just eight months, WHO shipped as many humanitarian shipments from its operational center in Dubai as in five years. “  The main challenge for us is to meet the huge demand for medical supplies,” explains Robert Blanchard, the team leader for emergency operations. Right now we don't have enough inventory to meet everyone's demand.  "

The vast majority of these medical supplies - including masks and protective gowns - are made in China. They are then transported to the warehouses of the WHO operational center in Dubai, before being exported to countries in need.

Global demand has exceeded the capacity of the manufacturing sector to produce this protective equipment, " said the WHO team leader for emergency operations. And from what we see, there will be a continued need for this in the future.  "

Avoid too much dependence on a single manufacturer

The UN organization is therefore trying to draw the consequences of the health crisis. “  This also highlights the need to establish emergency product reserves,” continues Robert Blanchard. Thus, we can avoid too much dependence on a single manufacturer and diversify the supply chain.  "

In addition to the new coronavirus, the WHO must also continue to provide a response to other health crises such as cholera, polio or even malaria epidemics.

To read also: WHO predicts the coronavirus pandemic "very long"

Newsletter Receive all international news directly in your mailbox

I subscribe

Follow all the international news by downloading the RFI application


  • United Arab Emirates

On the same subject

WHO predicts "very long" coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus: keeping borders closed will become very difficult, warns WHO

WHO worries about accelerating coronavirus pandemic in Africa