Humanitarian Health Action

Editorial

Monthly Highlights - March 2011

Coordination meeting on the border with Libya, February 2011
WHO/EMRO

Last year’s foremost crises in Haiti and Pakistan have stretched the capacity of the international community in all sectors including health. The Global Health Cluster, whose Secretariat is based in WHO’s headquarters, has been valuable in both crises by making the most of available resources and skills and avoiding wastage and overlap.

Since its inception, the cluster approach has demonstrated that the effective coordination greatly adds to the value of individual agencies and entities involved in humanitarian health response. By providing training, promoting review, monitoring, evaluation and adaptation, the Global Health Cluster also ensures that successes, challenges, lessons and gaps are clearly recognized and addressed.

The response and recovery work for the crises in Haiti and Pakistan will not diminish any time soon. Both countries will require sustained support to respond to the health needs of affected populations. And these are only two of the many severe and prolonged crises affecting communities around the world.

Providing sustained support is difficult but it must be achieved. This is why the Global Health Cluster and its partners are also working to ensure that country health clusters have adequate resources to improve the humanitarian response. This is a coordinated partnership and all partners will need resources and support.

The month’s Highlights begins with an overview of the three main current emergencies: the health consequences of the humanitarian crises in Côte d’Ivoire and Libya and of the earthquake and tsunami that affected Japan in early March. It also gives a brief outline of the situation in Yemen.

It then updates on a new agreement between Spain and WHO which establishes a humanitarian assistance fund. It continues with a brief update on the latest news from the Global Health Cluster, providing a copy of the Annual activity report for 2010. The Highlights conclude with the most recent interagency issues, including an update on the Ninth Coordination Meeting on International Migration.

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