Ensuring access to health services in humanitarian and emergency settings requires strong coordination among Governments and partners. It also requires sustainable funding, strategic planning, and capacity-building on the ground.
UNICEF works closely with Governments, UN agencies, and other partners to help countries prepare for and respond to emergencies.
Preparedness for emergencies
Even under normal conditions, public health services can be stretched thin, especially in low-income countries. Challenges magnify in the face of public health emergencies.
UNICEF helps ensure minimum preparedness measures are in place for rapid response, including measures to strengthen the newborn-health component in emergency preparedness plans, to minimize the risk of gender-based violence and to deploy human resources to affected areas. UNICEF also works to build local capacity by supporting training for the technical staff of Governments and partners.
Quality programming and standards
UNICEF helps to coordinate and align emergency response efforts in health; child protection; nutrition; communication; and water, sanitation and hygiene. We also provide quality medicines, vaccines and other health supplies to children and women during public health emergencies and other crises.
To ensure health programmes meet the highest standards, UNICEF engages affected communities in their design, planning and monitoring, and promotes safe and confidential feedback mechanisms.
Linking humanitarian response to development
When it comes to advancing development, planning for recovery can be just as critical as responding to an emergency.
UNICEF works with Governments and partners to strengthen infrastructure, develop preparedness plans and re-establish routine health services in humanitarian and emergency settings.
Community health workers are integral to building strong, resilient health systems. We also help Governments decentralize primary health care systems in areas vulnerable to natural disasters, conflicts and public health emergencies.
Coordination and partnerships
In close collaboration with Governments and partners, UNICEF strengthens coordination efforts at the global, national and local levels. We help ensure that humanitarian responses are synchronized, timely and adhere to agreed-upon standards and benchmarks. This includes during both the assessment of the emergency and the subsequent response.
In line with the United Nations’ call for the protection of civilians in conflict, UNICEF advocates for the protection of all children in humanitarian settings, as well as the protection of health facilities and equipment.