Expert Profile

Dr Jorge Castilla-Echenique
Position(s) Senior Advisor for Health Emergency Response and Acting Head of the WHO Surge and Crisis Respons

Dr Jorge Castilla-Echenique is an Associate Fellow within the Global Fellowship Initiative of the GCSP. Jorge Castilla has a personal commitment to people for effective emergency medical assistance. He has more than 25 years of medical humanitarian assistance experience with NGOs, Donors, the United Nations and Ministries of Health.

Dr Castilla's experience is as a General Physician in a Colombian rural hospital, a district health director in Colombia, the regional director of epidemiology in Colombia with the Ministry of Health. He was a project coordinator of a medical primary health care project in Sudan, a country medical coordinator for eight humanitarian projects in Sudan, and a project coordinator for a sleeping sickness program in Uganda, a project which included several scientific publications on the subject. He was a country manager for humanitarian medical programs in Uganda and Zaire, receiving arriving refugees (Rwandese, Zairian, Ugandan and Sudanese) and handling of epidemics of cholera, meningitis and measles, as well as a country manager for humanitarian medical programs in Mozambique. He consulted on public health with Epicentre/AEDES and was the Director of Operations for a humanitarian medical private association at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). For two and a half years, he was the International Training Co-ordinator for MSF. He was the Regional Medical Coordinator for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) West Africa for four years, covering projects related to conflict, post-conflict, refugee, epidemic and nutritional in 17 countries. He was also the ECHO focal point for Malaria and Epidemics. Dr Castilla edited World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and training materials for pandemic flu preparedness and mitigation in refugee settings. He was the displaced and refugee populations health manager in Colombian and neighbouring countries as well as for emergencies and disasters program within the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), including managing field offices in places of acute displacement and leading the health cluster in humanitarian reform, including action during the 2010 Haiti Earthquake. He was a Senior Health Advisor at ECHO in charge of policy design, partner network and technical support in major crisis. Dr Castilla is currently the WHO Senior Health Advisor for Health Emergency Response.

Dr Castilla has a master in public health (MScPH), and has taken the Public Health Pre-Deployment course and several short courses and diplomas on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, including those offered by Epicentre. He speaks fluent English, French and Spanish and has a basic level of other languages including Arabic and Portuguese. He has worked with the Ministry of Health, WHO, ECHO, and MSF, and is familiar with a wide variety of emergency settings (conflict, natural disaster, famine, epidemics) across several continents.