Public Health Emergency Archetypes

A framework to support equitable access to life-saving supplies in outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics.

UNICEF staff delivering vaccines


Public health emergencies (PHEs) and, more specifically, infectious disease outbreaks and epidemics may differ dramatically in their scale, mode and speed of transmission, geographic distribution and affected populations, among other characteristics. These differences have important implications for efforts to ensure that low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have timely and equitable access to vaccines, drugs, diagnostics and other medical countermeasures (MCMs) needed to save lives and limit the impact of disease outbreaks.

To inform decisions to support equitable access to MCMs, UNICEF has developed an analytical framework that considers strategies and tactics that international and regional agencies, including UNICEF, should prioritize in different outbreak situations. The archetypes framework analyzes features that affect the supply of MCMs to LMICs and does not focus on the biological characteristics of outbreak-prone pathogens.

The categorization of PHEs presented in this report is based on two main considerations: the type of PHE and the status of MCM development and availability.

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