3.2 CO management issues relating to emergency health programming

Responding to health and SRH needs in an emergency requires a basic level of sectoral capacity within the CO. It also requires a high level of coordination with other actors involved in the health sector response before and during an emergency. The following checklist can help ensure the CO has the appropriate capacity to participate effectively in an emergency response to health and sexual and reproductive health needs.

 Checklist for CO level SRH and health sector capacity assessment

  • All COs should be aware of appropriate measures to respond to health and sexual and reproductive health needs.  This is usually built into scenario planning exercise in EPP with special reference to SRH integration.
  • Integrate a disaster risk reduction (DRR) approach into preparedness and response. See chapter 34 for more information on DRR.
  • Ensure that staff from COs are represented and participating in UN health cluster (led by WHO) and other health related coordination meetings such as the GBV and RH working groups.
  • Be aware of local and national health authorities’ proposed roles and other organisations that the health authorities have recognised as potential partners in an emergency.
  • Integrate into CO rapid assessment procedures key information on essential health issues including sexual and reproductive health, IMCI, malaria, tuberculosis, measles, other communicable diseases, and HIV/AIDS.
  • For all intervention areas selected, ensure use of the latest technical guidelines and integrate standards to monitor quality and accountability.
  • Provide training for technical and non-technical staff and members of ERT in SRHR response, including other essential health areas like IMCI.
  • Include simple measures to ensure the needs of mothers, pregnant women, young children and infants are met in the early stages of an emergency in CO emergency response protocols.
  • Make all CO staff aware of promoting and maintaining exclusive breastfeeding in infants up to six months of age.
  • Coordinate with food and nutrition security sector for addressing ongoing nutritional needs of pregnant and lactating women and that of infants.
  • Ensure that health responses are designed and implemented in a way that minimizes conflict between armed groups, works actively to prevent sexual and other forms of interpersonal violence.
  • Involve first responders, especially women’s groups in the planning and management of basic health and SRH interventions.