The objective of the course was to foster health security in the region by enhancing health systems capacities to prepare for and respond to a crisis.

The first Public Health and Emergency Management training program took place in Israel in June 2008, and focused on the management of critical public health issues in disasters and emergencies. The objective of the course was to foster health security in the region by enhancing health systems capacities to prepare for and respond to a crisis – a focus that has been given increasing priority by the World Health Organization Regional Committee for Europe in recent years.

This first of its kind regional course, specifically designed for senior managers from the health and health-related sectors who have responsibilities in the area of emergency management, was hosted and supported by MASHAV, the Israeli Ministry of Health, and the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, with the participation of 22 delegates from 13 countries.

The course addressed all types of emergencies: natural, human-made and technological, focusing on managerial practices before, during and after an event. During the course, the concept of risk management as a framework for policy making and planning within the national development process was introduced. The course aim was at building capacity in the health system with regard to preparation for, response to and recovery from disasters, with inter-sectoral dimensions especially highlighted.
 
The WHO Regional Office for Europe intends to organize this course in the future as a regular event.