social impact

German Red Cross

Development of an early warning system for epidemic risks


German Red Cross is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the largest humanitarian organization in the world. It has provided comprehensive aid for more than 140 years for people in conflict situations, disasters and health or social emergency situations, solely based on their level of need. In the wake of recent events in Germany posing a potential increase in epidemic risk (flooding in southern Germany in 2013, refugee crisis in 2015), the German Red Cross aims at implementing an early warning system.

We used our Digital and Risk expertise to support the key German humanitarian aid organization in developing an early warning system for epidemic risks. This will help to timely warn and protect its employees and all affected people around them
Claus Herbolzheimer


Oliver Wyman was engaged for a period of six weeks to help the German Red Cross in developing an early warning system for epidemic risks that may occur in the aftermath of a catastrophe. The first step was to define the target picture for the early warning system from a strategic point of view such as aligning on which risks to cover, and which functionalities to provide. This was done via several interviews and workshops, including experts from various areas of the organization. In parallel, Oliver Wyman analyzed relevant examples for early warning systems from around the world. Combining the insights on best practices for early warning systems thus derived with the target picture defined, the project team derived key prerequisites crucial for establishing such a system at German Red Cross and defined an implementation roadmap.

Working on such a crucial topic for the German Red Cross whose members save lives on a daily basis was a really special project experience. The project team and all German Red Cross employees infected us with their enthusiasm and curiosity
Suzan Erbil


Implementing the early warning system for epidemic risks based on the target picture and roadmap defined will allow the German Red Cross to obtain greater transparency on an accumulation of disease symptoms in a timely manner and thus to be able to react more efficiently in the future. This way, employees, volunteers and the affected population will be better protected while at the same time allowing for an optimal use of German Red Cross’s resources.