Proceedings from the WHO Conference on the Health Aspects of the Tsunami Disaster in Asia
Phuket, Thailand, 4-6 May 2005
1. The WHO Conference on Health Aspects of the Tsunami Disaster in Asia took place in Phuket, Thailand from 4 to 6 May 2005. The event was organized in cooperation with the Royal Thai Government and with co-funding from the Government of Italy.
2. The conference brought together some 400 senior policy advisers and expert practitioners from Asia and elsewhere. They came from national governments, United Nations agencies, nongovernmental organizations, civil society groups, academic institutions and countries that provided relief assistance to the tsunami-affected populations.
3. The conference focused on the lessons learnt during both the immediate health sector response to the tsunami and the early phase of recovery, within the broader framework of the affected countries' own efforts, supported by international assistance. The specific objectives of the conference were to:
- Review health sector experience with response and early recovery so as to determine successes and limitations i.e. what was done well, and what could have been done better?
- Identify lessons learnt for improving future health sector crisis response and recovery systems and processes i.e. in what way could future operations be better organized, and their technical components rendered more effective?
4. The Conference addressed these objectives from the perspective of (a) national response and recovery actions; and (b) actions taken by the international assistance community - UN agencies, donors, nongovernmental organizations, with a particular focus on WHO. The conference was organized around three themes: health protection and disease prevention; health services delivery; and health policy and coordination. These were discussed in plenary sessions and eighteen technical panels. The panels addressed key issues relating to: needs assessment; coordination; filling gaps in essential services and capacity building at country level. Each issue was analysed using a common framework covering the appropriateness, adequacy, effectiveness, efficiency, and 'connectedness' of different national and international interventions view from both a technical and organizational angle.