EHS-COVID (283) WHO and HIFA: Maintaining essential health services during the pandemic

9 May, 2021

Dear HIFA colleagues,

Welcome to our second thematic discussion on Maintaining essential health services during the pandemic (and beyond).

1. Over the coming weeks (10 May to 25 June) we shall explore the subject in depth, using a series of entry points: reproductive health, child health, mental health, NCDs, surgery, emergency care... We shall look at the needs of those who are especially vulnerable at this time, and how these needs can be better addressed.

2. I invite you to forward this message to your contacts and networks and invite them to our landing page where they can join us:

3. The main discussion will take place here on HIFA, and we shall be having parallel discussion on HIFA-French, HIFA-Portuguese, HIFA-Spanish and CHIFA (global child health).

4. Our reference document for this project is the WHO guidance: Maintaining essential health services: operational guidance for the COVID-19 context interim guidance (June 2020).

The guidance is in two main parts: Operational strategies for maintaining essential health services, and Life course and disease considerations.

5. As we proceed I invite you to reflect on the 280 messages we have already exchanged on this topic. Our thanks to HIFA volunteers Gladson Vaghela (coordinator), Sanchika Gupta and Sandra Bearcroft for their diligent work to synthesise the key learing points in our discussion so far. A draft is currently under review by WHO with a view to publication on the WHO website as a Learning Brief. We'll get this to you as soon as we can.

Thank you for your inputs! Please email any contributions to and we'll ensure these are distributed to everyone.

Best wishes, Neil

Let's build a future where every person has access to reliable healthcare information and is protected from misinformation - Join HIFA:

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health movement (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB:

Join HIFA:

Join CHIFA (child health and rights):

Join HIFA-Portuguese:

Join HIFA-French:

Join HIFA-Spanish:

Join HIFA-Zambia:

Coordinator, WHO-HIFA Collaboration: HIFA project on Essential Health Services and COVID-19