Humanitarian Health Action

What is an emergency health kit?

Health kits
Julie Moult
Emergency health kits being unloaded and forwarded to Aceh

An emergency health kit includes medicines, disposables and instruments to meet the needs of 10 000 people for three months.

A complete emergency kit contains ten identical boxes, each one meant for 1000 people, and each consisting of a basic and supplementary unit. The basic unit is intended for use by primary health care workers with limited training and located in remote areas. It contains non-injectable drugs, medical supplies and some essential equipment, accompanied by simple treatment guidelines.

The supplementary unit contains drugs, renewable supplies and equipment needed by doctors working in first- or second-referral health facilities.

Basic equipment in the kits includes a complete sterilization set and items to help provide for clean water at the health facility.

The kits, developed by WHO, are primarily intended for displaced populations without medical facilities. They can also be used for initial supply of primary health care facilities where the normal system of provision has broken down. The kits are not designed for immunization programmes, cholera, meningitis or specific epidemics.