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Fact Sheet

UNICEF's guiding principles in emergencies

Integrated primary health care approach: Such an approach strongly emphasizes preventative over curative care, and recognizes the importance of various non-medical factors to the health of emergency-affected populations. Foremost are security and protection, education, shelter, water supply, environmental sanitation, safe hygiene practices and adequate and appropriate food.

Rapid response: Emergency health interventions must adapt and respond to rapidly changing needs and priorities over the course of an emergency. This requires a monitoring and surveillance system to be able to react and respond to needs.

Local leadership: It is critical that emergency-affected populations, including displaced and refugee populations, be given responsibility for their own health from the outset of an emergency health programme. Services must be operated with, rather than for, the affected population.

National capacity building: Local health personnel should be given maximum support and existing systems should be reinforced to meet emergency needs.

Sustainability: Health services during the acute emergency period should be planned - and resources used - to lay the foundation for a sustainable post-emergency health system.

Coordination: All emergency health interventions must be coordinated to ensure effective use of available resources and supplies to address the priority needs of all groups. Strategies, services and treatment schedules should be standardized as much as possible. Appropriate guidelines should be provided to all engaged in health-related activities.