OpenWHO: WHO’s Open Learning Platform

Jul 30, 2021 | Capacity Development Initiatives


The World Health Organization launched the OpenWHO learning platform in 2017 to facilitate the transfer of public health knowledge for emergencies on a massive scale, in anticipation of the next pandemic. Grounded in the principles of open access and equity, courses are free, self-paced, accessible in low-bandwidth and offline formats, and available in national and local languages. The platform has served frontline responders in outbreaks from Ebola to plague, with exponential growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

OpenWHO is the first WHO platform to host unlimited users during health emergencies. It provides you with a fast and free way to obtain the latest scientific and operational know-how. With a dynamic interface, accessible through your computer and mobile device, OpenWHO offers offline downloads, peer discussion boards and interactive webinars from ongoing health emergencies.

Topics offers free online courses to transfer life-saving knowledge for health emergencies and other WHO areas of expertise, so everyone, everywhere, can attain the highest level of health. Courses are organized by learning channels that cover a variety of topics, including COVID-19, disease outbreaks, emergency response, antimicrobial resistance, clinical management, infection prevention and control, neglected tropical diseases, one health, social science interventions and universal health coverage. Click each of the course series below for more details:

Key features

  • Accessible: OpenWHO courses are low-bandwidth-adjusted, downloadable and portable, available from any device and offline. This enables participants with basic technology to access learning from almost anywhere in the world.
  • Equitable: Courses are available to all at no cost in more than 50 languages, democratizing knowledge and learning. Providing equitable access to critical health emergency knowledge in the mother tongues of the most vulnerable populations is a core value of OpenWHO.
  • Flexible: Self-paced learning delivery enables individuals to learn at their own speed, at their preferred time and in their preferred place. It builds on and provides for the preferences and availability of the learner.
  • Learner-centric: User-friendly options allow individuals to choose formats specific to their learning needs, and provide the basis for a customized, ”just-in-time” learning experience and continuous, lifelong learning.
  • Quality: Courses are based on WHO expert guidance and utilize adult learning techniques, ensuring the quality of content and enhanced learning.

Achievements to date

[milestone heading_inherit=”h5″ subject_padding=”2%” color=”Accent-Color” effect=”count” milestone_alignment=”left” number=”6″ number_font_size=”82″ subject=”Approximately 6 million enrollments across courses”][milestone heading_inherit=”h5″ subject_padding=”2%” color=”Accent-Color” effect=”count” milestone_alignment=”left” number=”100″ number_font_size=”82″ subject=”More than 100 online courses for COVID-19 and other health topics”]
[milestone heading_inherit=”h5″ subject_padding=”2%” color=”Accent-Color” effect=”count” milestone_alignment=”left” number=”50″ number_font_size=”82″ subject=”Courses offered in more than 50 languages”][milestone heading_inherit=”h5″ subject_padding=”2%” color=”Accent-Color” effect=”count” milestone_alignment=”left” number=”13000″ number_font_size=”82″ subject=”Webinars attracted more than 13 000 participants over 2 months”]

Expanded knowledge transfer for Infection Prevention and Control during the pandemic

Increased reach to underserved demographics