Building a world prepared to help: introducing the READY Initiative

Since early 2021, UK-Med have been working with the READY Initiative on a training programme that helps organisations prepare and respond to crises. We’re excited to share more details on the initiative below and our upcoming training programme in Cameroon, Turkey and Sudan.

Creating a programme that equips organisations for outbreaks

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clearer than ever before that disease outbreaks need a global response. We are a proud partner in the READY Initiative [1]; a group of organisations that are working to strengthen global response to major disease outbreaks.

UK-Med is leading on designing, developing and implementing a training programme that will strengthen the operational capacity of organisations to prepare, rapidly scale up, and improve systems, in order to more efficiently launch an integrated multi-sectoral humanitarian response to future infectious disease outbreaks.

We started the design process at the beginning of 2021 and in June launched a  global call for expressions of interests from organisations that:

were actively seeking to add or strengthen their outbreak response capacity;

had experience working in a humanitarian and public health response, and;

had experience working in multiple technical sectors.

Almost 150 NGOs from across the world applied to join the programme, and following the selection process, we’re delighted to announce the three fantastic organisations we’ll be collaborating with below.

Our partner organisations


Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS)

SAMS was founded in 1998 as a professional society to provide networking and educational opportunities to medical professionals of Syrian descent across the United States.


Premiere Urgence Internationale Sudan (PUI Sudan)

PUI is a non-governmental international aid organization committed to supporting people affected by natural disasters, conflict, and economic collapses.


Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS)

CBCHS is the medical arm of the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC), which grew from missionaries to an indigenous health care organisation run by Cameroonians in 1975. It is now the second largest provider of health services after the government in Cameroon.

How the training programme works

The training is designed to work closely with each organisation, and identify specific gaps and needs based on their unique context and programming priorities. Although the structure of each training programme will be the same, the content and faculty delivering the training will be tailored to  each organisation’s  need and context.

The training programme is a four-phased programme that includes both online and in-person training. UK-Med will be working with the three organisations for a period of between 9-12 months to deliver the following activities:

Phases One and Two

Phase one and two are both delivered remotely. In phase one, we guide organisations through a capacity and risk analysis to assess each organisation’s operational capacity for response to infections disease outbreaks. These analyses were carried out via a series of online workshops in October and November 2021.

Although we are working with three very different organisations with very different levels of humanitarian and outbreak experience and diverse operating contexts, we’ve discovered the challenges the organisations are facing are remarkably similar.

Each organisation is very experienced in their respective programming areas, but they have all perceived themselves to be unprepared for outbreak response. Each organisation aspires to build emergency response teams who can respond to surging needs caused by infectious disease outbreaks.

The second phase of the training programme aims to build basic knowledge about the key concepts and terminology used in outbreak response, preparing the organisations for the practical learning sessions in phase three of the project.

The four lectures of this phase were each led by experts in their field:

Emi Takahshi from Save the Children UK has developed and delivered lessons on Introduction to infectious disease outbreaks.

UK-Med’s CEO, David Wightwick, is taking organisations through two sessions on outbreak response coordination, positioning and emergency medical teams.

Senior Social Behaviour Change Advisor with the Johns Hopkins University, Kathryn Bertram will be taking organisations through a session on Risk Communication and Community Engagement.

Reactions from scoping phase evaluations

“It was shocking to realise how unprepared we are to face outbreaks.”

“This phase of the training has set a stage for me and the organisation, and it has also opened our minds to reason wider as regard preparing and handling outbreaks.”

“Being a trained person on disaster management and preparedness, I was very much impressed being brought closer to emergency response medically. I look forward to knowing more.”

Phase Three

In January and February 2022, UK-Med are travelling to Cameroon, Turkey and Sudan respectively to deliver phase three of the Operational Readiness Training programme – a five-day in-person workshop with each organisation.

We are looking forward to bringing a strong faculty of both operational and learning experts  to deliver a highly flexible training programme  which can be adapted to address any important issues that come up during the course of the training.

Stay tuned as we provide updates on the Ready Initiative training programme on our social media channels!

Feature image: Training in Dohuk, Iraq 2013 (Photo credit Chrissy Alcock)

[1] READY is led by Save the Children in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health, the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, UK-Med, EcoHealth Alliance, and Mercy Malaysia.


  • Hilary Bower

    Reply 26th January 2022 7:15 pm

    Dear UK-Med
    Im interested in the partnership with th Sudan that will allow you to travel to Sudan in the coming weeks. I have been planning a trip to Khartoum to work with MOH colleagues since October but have had to postpone due to the political situation. Id be grateful to be in touch with the tean travelling.
    Best regards

    • UK-Med

      Reply 27th January 2022 11:19 am

      Hi Hilary – we’ll pass your message onto the team and they’ll get back to you via email. Thanks!

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