Local organizations play a critical role in disease outbreak preparedness and response in humanitarian settings. Yet their contributions are often overlooked, particularly in terms of engagement and leadership in outbreak coordination, funding allocation, and decision-making structures. Recent infectious disease outbreaks in humanitarian settings emphasize the urgency of recognizing the value of local actors, their existing skills and capacities, and decision-making power to support locally led action. A shift from competition to collaboration is essential to ensure effective responses that meet the needs of affected populations, and signs of a renewed commitment to localization by global actors provide a crucial opportunity to act now.
This paper covers the result of consultations with key global humanitarian and outbreak actors, local and national organizations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, and a comprehensive desk review of existing literature. It centers on their perspectives, needs, and priorities and provides recommendations for locally led action during infectious disease outbreaks in humanitarian settings. The findings, presented as Key Actions, provide a foundation for dialogue and future cooperation between local and global actors to drive concrete action and break through the inertia of localization.
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