Guidelines covering mass gatherings worldwide in the wake of the Ebola virus outbreak have been developed by Flinders University’s World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Mass Gatherings and High Consequence Events, located in Adelaide, South Australia.
The guidelines are being used by international event organisers and health authorities to plan for large scale public events at which an Ebola infection could occur.
The WHO asked the Collaborating Centre to coordinate development of specific guidance in the wake of the Ebola outbreak.
The Ebola guidelines provide event organisers and health authorities with important advice on pre-planning and what to do in the event of the detection of an Ebola infection at a mass event.
WHO Collaborating Centre for Mass Gatherings and High Consequence Events Director, Professor Paul Arbon, says there is a requirement for coordination and cooperation where a health risk may affect other nations.
Mass gatherings are one such scenario and this is especially relevant across African nations where the potential risk is greater in light of the recent Ebola outbreak.
The Collaborating Centre for Mass Gatherings and High Consequence Events was established at Flinders University as a program with the Torrens Resilience Institute: a leader in disaster and emergency research in the Asia-Pacific region.
It works in partnership with the WHO to develop better strategies for the management of mass gatherings and high consequence events such as concerts, large scale sports events and disasters.
Its researchers provide advice to the WHO based on their expertise and help the organisation develop guidelines for better global cooperation around mass gatherings, including the Olympics, the World Cup and other events that create a crowd.
There are at least 40 WHO Collaborating Centres across various fields in Australia but the Flinders centre is the first in South Australia.
Professor Arbon said a key aim of the centre was to provide education and research in the area of disaster resilience and mass gatherings, including evaluating the effectiveness of current strategies and developing better management approaches.
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