Humanitarian Health Action

Summary of HAC activities as Health Cluster Lead in 2010

Monthly Highlights - January 2011

Every year, new and old emergencies and crises leave millions of people in dire need of assistance. The Global Health Cluster (GHC) is a practical and cost-effective approach to maximize the resources and skills of the international humanitarian community to meet this demand.

Under the leadership of WHO, the GHC brings together NGOs, donor organizations and academic and resource centres and institutions committed to responding to health needs in emergencies. It adds value to crisis response by optimizing available resources and skills, by recognizing local knowledge, expertise and advice and by avoiding wastage and overlap, both of which can not be afforded in situations of severe need. Ongoing review, monitoring, evaluation and adaptation ensure responsiveness to challenges and awareness of lessons learned, successes, gaps and areas still needing attention.

The needs resulting from the crises in Haiti and Pakistan in 2010 will not diminish any time soon. Both countries will require sustained support to respond to the health needs of affected populations. These are but two of the many severe and prolonged crises affecting communities around the world. There are 28 countries that have implemented the cluster approach and receive support and guidance from the GHC and implementing partners.

Experience has shown that emergencies and crises are frequent and increasingly complex. Responses must continue to be flexible and based on sound practice and they must enable the best possible use of resources and skills. The approach and effect of the GHC has established a sound basis for going forward to do even better in meeting the needs of people in crisis.

Some key products delivered by the GHC in 2010 include:

  • The Monitoring Tool on the Performance of the Health Cluster, a self-assessment tool to analyse and manage the Health Cluster implementation process;
  • Standard Health Cluster coordination training and introductory packages explaining the humanitarian and cluster approach. These provide a learning resource which will ensure standardization and accuracy in the context of awareness raising training and consistency when delivering key messages;
  • The Health Cluster Guide and related tools in English and in French;
  • Policy position papers on user-fees in humanitarian situations and civil-military cooperation;
  • A regular newsletter, a web site and social media sites (Twitter, Facebook);
  • A GHC helpdesk.

Several courses, workshops, missions and meetings were also organized:

  • Four Health Cluster Coordination Training Courses on the role of the health cluster coordinator, the use of specific Health Cluster tools, the humanitarian cluster approach as well as finance mechanisms – one in Spanish in El Salvador and three in English in Geneva, Jakarta and Cairo;
  • A lessons learned and training workshop;
  • An intra-cluster joint mission to Yemen and inter-cluster missions to Pakistan and Nepal;
  • The annual meeting of all GHC partners and three face-to-face meetings of the GHC Working Group Team and Policy and Strategy Team.
More information on the Global Health Cluster