Humanitarian Health Action


WHO Conference on the Health Aspects of the Tsunami Disaster in Asia

The key themes

The conference will be organised around three themes:

  • Health protection and disease prevention
  • Health services delivery
  • Health policy and coordination

Each theme will include tackling the four core expectations from health action in crises, each asking one key question ie.

  • Needs assessment: How sound were the initial and ongoing health assessments of the disaster?
  • Coordination: How are stakeholders co-operating and coordinating with each other, including how resources are being mobilized and utilised?
  • Gap filling: How are population needs being met, and with what results?
  • Capacity building: How are country capacities being strengthened so as to be better prepared for future disasters?

Each of the above questions will be examined from five analytic perspectives ie. the appropriateness, adequacy, effectiveness, efficiency, and 'connectedness' of both the technical and organisational aspects of national and international interventions.

This analysis - presented by invited experts commissioned to critically examine these issues - is expected to stimulate discussion among conference participants - leading to succinct conclusions and recommendations that will build shared understanding and agreement on the following question:

  • How can the international disaster response system be improved to strengthen the health response to disasters?

Within the above framework selected topics will be examined in greater detail in 13 parallel panels. The short-listed topics - which may change during conference planning - are:

  • National health perspectives on the Tsunami crisis
  • Health protection and disease prevention
  • Health services delivery
  • Health policy and coordination
  • Assessing needs and measuring impact
  • Surveillance, early warning alert and response
  • Gender dimensions and human rights aspects to health response and recovery
  • Funding policies and practices
  • Mass casualty management and hospital care
  • Mental and psychosocial aspects
  • The first 30 days: organising rapid response
  • Water, sanitation, food safety and environmental health
  • Repair and recovery of health systems
  • Reproductive, maternal and child health
  • Food security and nutrition
  • The health sector contribution to disaster reduction
  • The role of media and communications
  • Contribution of non-governmental actors
  • Civil-military co-operation in humanitarian health action
  • Forensic aspects of disaster casualty management
  • Private sector partnerships for health action in crises
  • Information Technology and telecommunications in crisis management
  • Lessons learnt and next steps

Keynote papers will be commissioned on the short-listed topics.