Centre for Global Health Policy

EOCs: Emergency Operations Centres

Stefan Elbe
Eva Hilberg

A growing number of global health emergencies are unfolding in the 21st century – from SARS, pandemic flu and MERS, through to Ebola, Zika and COVID-19.

Whilst the viruses causing those outbreaks proverbially ‘know no borders’, the international community has been repeatedly challenged in mounting an internationally co-ordinated response to such outbreaks.

One way in which several international initiatives are now trying to improve the management of future global health emergencies is by building new public health Emergency Operations Centres (EOC). Such EOCs are the global health equivalent of 'wars rooms' that bring all the key personnel, data and resources closely together under one roof.

Several international initiatives are currently encouraging all countries to build at least one such EOC in the coming years, so that the world can better respond to future outbreaks – irrespective of where in the world they occur.

CGHP members are investigating the history, rise and designs of EOCs as key new sites in the management of global health emergencies.

  • Elbe, Stefan. 'Infrastructural Relations: Emergency Operations Centres, Site Ontology and Prefigurative Power' (under review).