Humanitarian Health Action

Policy and Strategy for WHO/EHA action in Disasters


Programme policy

The humanitarian programme will be implemented in the spirit if the following policy principles:

  • The Ministry of Health, the Provincial Health Office and the District Health Offices must di-rect all health sector actions;
  • International health sector partners must strengthen or re-build the public health system, rather than create parallel structures;
  • Local institutions and local NGO are preferred implementing partners whenever reasonable and feasible;
  • Communities and local institutions must be part of planning and evaluation processes;
  • Assistance to displaced and host populations must be provided on the basis of assessed need;
  • SPHERE standards should be met wherever possible;
  • Where appropriate, recovery and reconstruction should be to standards higher than those prevailing before the disaster (including better policies and reduced vulnerability in case of future disasters) but which are compatible with the systems and practices of the country and are within the absorption capacity of local authorities;
  • Disaster risk reduction, addressing issues of hazard reduction, vulnerability reduction and emergency preparedness, must be addressed in all recovery and reconstruction planning;
  • All programme planning must include allocation of specific resources for independent evaluation of outcomes and impact.

These principles will be applied under the following policy framework:

  • A population-based approach to ensuring health security of affected populations. Popu-lations at risk of poor health outcomes must be identified and the degree to which their needs are being anticipated and met must be monitored. Clear enumeration of beneficiary populations and target groups is needed, as well as systematic monitoring of standard health and nutrition indicators including indicators of maternal, non-communicable, injury, disability, child, adoles-cent and mental health status.
  • Support to Provincial and District Health Offices is provided in coordination with the Ministry of Health. The local health system must be effective in:
    • directing public health policy and planning;
    • monitoring the quality, appropriateness, coverage and accessibility of preventative, cura-tive, rehabilitative and promotative services; and
    • co-ordinating the implementation activities of all actors in the health sector.
  • WHO supported activities designed and implemented according to the mandated role of WHO, and implemented through established WHO partnerships with and through:
    • the national, provincial and local health authorities;
    • public-private partnerships;
    • the UN system as the "health arm of the UN"; and
    • national and international NGO, institutes and organisations as the “lead agency in the health sector”.

The EHA Programme will function as an integral part of the overall WHO Country Programme, with close technical supervision by regular Country Office staff.

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