Policy and Strategy for WHO/EHA action in Disasters
Operational goals and objectives
This document provides a guide to WHO country offices in setting the operational framework for humanitarian action after a natural disaster. It is based on material developed for the tsunami disaster in Aceh, Indonesia in 2004/5. This material should be used as a template to develop a situation specific operational document.
The goal of a WHO/EHA humanitarian operation after a natural disaster is:
to support health authorities and health sector partners to protect the health and safety of the population of the affected area.
This can be achieved by focussing on three objectives:
- Supporting mechanisms to identify and meet immediate and ongoing humanitarian needs;
- Facilitating the restoration of function of essential medical and public health services;
- Establishing and/or supporting mechanisms for ensuring that relief, recovery and recon-struction activities in health and related sectors are appropriate, adequate and sufficient in terms of quality, access and coverage.
These objectives can be achieved using the following strategy. Any WHO/EHA humanitarian action programme will:
- focus on disaster affected districts and populations. However, wherever possible inputs will be directed towards achieving province wide benefits and outcomes, and on occasions, country wide;
- work within the standard areas of WHO competence - capacity building, resource mobilisa-tion, information systems and coordination mechanisms;
- not provide direct services to people or communities unless urgent needs are not being met and where those gaps pose severe and immediate risks to health or safety;
- promote and support the recovery of services that address the pre-requisites for health (such as livelihoods, food supply, nutrition, shelter, water supply and sanitation) and moni-tor that they are being addressed appropriately and sufficiently by all concerned agencies;
- provide technical, financial, organisational and logistical support to the provincial and dis-trict health authorities to enable them to re-establish public health and curative services, with special attention to primary health care;
- strengthen health sector coordination mechanisms developed by government, World Bank, donors and multilateral agencies at provincial, district and local levels through active WHO participation and by facilitating effective participation of national health authorities;
- promote and support the delivery of appropriate preventative, curative, rehabilitative and promotative services to displaced populations, both while living in temporary settlements and during their resettlement, return or relocation.
The objectives can be achieved by organising WHO action into three areas of work. Staff will be assigned or recruited according to the needs of the Areas of Work and will function in collaborative teams under each area of work.