Health

With the dramatic increase in the number of protracted and complex crises around the world, it is important to consider how health contributes to improved learning outcomes. Health and education have a mutually reinforcing effect on one another; those who are of ill health experience poor mental and educational development, and proper health education can ensure that students are better able to maintain good health. Due to this relationship, it is important to ensure that students are learning in a healthy and safe environment so that they can achieve a better health status, and therefore have higher attendance rates and superior educational attainment. 

Displaced woman Nadia Mohammed Fadhl with her son Mater receives assistance at an IRC mobile clinic operating in the suburb of Bir Ahmed on the outskirts of Aden, Yemen on Thursday, January 10, 2019.
© Will Swanson, IRC 

However, global crises make these goals difficult to achieve. In order to work towards attaining them, it is imperative that there is a delivery of a range of services (preventative and primary care, as well as outbreak response and tertiary treatment) which ensures that students have a complete physical, mental and social well-being that bolsters their ability to learn, even in the midst of a crisis. Health care and health education must also adapt to be culturally sensitive and to fit the specific needs of the students in their emergency settings. 

In 2015, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 3 whose goal is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for everyone at all ages. Not only does this goal address the provision of quality health care, but it also calls attention to improving health knowledge and promoting health seeking behaviors. However, emergency settings complicate the ability to execute these services or provide such knowledge. Any disaster, whether it is natural or man-made, affects the health of the population and brings a substantial loss and disruption to public health systems. Apart from the direct impact from hazards such as trauma or injuries, disasters exacerbate the most common causes of childhood illness and death, including diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria, and malnutrition. In addition, fragile or disrupted essential services such as water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH), food and nutrition, health systems and the movements of people can put communities at risk of epidemic prone diseases and malnutrition

NGOs working in crisis settings have identified education to be a life saver for children. Children are better able to cope with trauma through the stability and organized structure that schools offer. Schools offer an avenue for protection and safety from potential dangers, abuses of various forms, and exploitation. In schools, children are able to access interventions such as food, water, sanitation, counseling, or referral for health care and treatment. Education helps to boost the economic potential of learners, promote equality and contribute to restoring peace and stability. Due to this, all efforts have to be exerted to transform schools into not only friendly and safe but more so healthy spaces. 

This Health collection seeks to highlight the priority health and public health thematic areas that could have a positive bearing on learning outcomes for learners in emergency situations. Key health issues and concerns will be identified and the recommended interventions, guidelines and protocols will be suggested. In addition, evidence-based scalable interventions are proposed. This brief is intended for individuals and stakeholders working to improve Education in Emergencies (EiE) through improved health interventions in humanitarian action.

Please use this resource in conjunction with Food and Nutrition and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Collections, as Health is intricately connected to both these topics.  

Key Statistics

  • In developing countries an estimated 500 million days of school per year are lost due to sickness

  • The most common poor health conditions in school-age children, including malaria, malnutrition, worm infection and anemia, can reduce their intellectual quotient (IQ) between 3.7 and 6 points.

  • Approximately 400 million school-age children suffer from worm infections, the highest number in any age group

  • Children of mothers with secondary education or higher are twice as likely to survive beyond age 5 as those whose mothers have no education

  • A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past age 5

  • Children of educated mothers are more likely to be vaccinated and less likely to be stunted because of malnourishment. In Indonesia, child vaccination rates are 19% when mothers have no education. This increases to 68% when mothers have at least a secondary school education

  • HIV and AIDS account for 77% of the teacher shortage in countries with high HIV rates.

  • Projections suggest that by 2050, the number of lives lost each year because of a failure to provide adequate access to quality education would equal those lost today to HIV and malaria, two of the most deadly global diseases. By 2050, population growth would be at least 15 percent higher than if all children were learning – a critical factor in development as a whole. (source)

This collection was developed with the support of Aysha Joan Liagamula Kayegeri, Common Wealth Scholar.

Manual/Handbook/Guide

Manual for the Health Care of Children in Humanitarian Emergencies

Published by
World Health Organization (WHO)

Guidelines that serve as references and assist in the care of children in emergencies (acute and chronic phases of an emergency). Essential for the training of first level health care workers. 

English
Manual/Handbook/Guide

Vaccination in Humanitarian Emergencies: Implementation Guide

Published by
World Health Organization (WHO)

Vaccine-preventable disease (VPD) outbreaks occurring in recent humanitarian emergencies highlighted the need for a comprehensive and evidence-based decision-making framework for vaccination in humanitarian emergencies.

English
French
Manual/Handbook/Guide

Prevention and Management of Wound Infection

Published by
World Health Organization (WHO)

Infected wounds may lead to lifetime disabilities and death. In disaster persons with wound are likely to present late or in large numbers. This guide offers principles and protocols to provide guidance for appropriate prevention and management of infected wounds. 

English
Brochure/Pamphlet

Ebola Virus Disease Fact Sheet

Published by
World Health Organization (WHO)

Key facts on the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

Arabic
Chinese (Mandarin)
English
French
Russian
Spanish
Manual/Handbook/Guide

Tuberculosis Control in Complex Emergencies

Published by
World Health Organization (WHO)

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that thrives in conditions generated by complex emergencies. As the risk of disease transmission increases, pressure on the delivery of tuberculosis care services grows, and the health system must find ways to sustain case detection, avoid default of patients on treatment and minimize the risk of drug resistance. 

English
Manual/Handbook/Guide

HIV Interventions for Young People in Humanitarian Emergencies

Published by
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

These briefs were developed to provide guidance on effective HIV interventions for young people in humanitarian emergencies. It is part of a series of seven global Guidance briefs that focus on HIV prevention, treatment, care and support interventions for young people that can be delivered through different settings for a range of target groups. 

English
Project Brief

Non-Communicable Disease in Emergencies

Published by
World Health Organization (WHO)

An overview on the minimum standards and priority actions to be used in the care of people with non-communicable diseases in emergencies. 

English
Manual/Handbook/Guide

Guidelines for Integrating Gender-Based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action

Published by
Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)

The Guidelines for Integrating Gender-Based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action were developed to assist humanitarian actors and communities affected by humanitarian emergencies to coordinate, implement, monitor and evaluate essential action for the prevention and mitigation of gender based violence across all sectors of humanitarian action.

English
French
Spanish
Arabic
Manual/Handbook/Guide

Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for Reproductive Health in Crisis Situations

Published by
Women's Refugee Commission (WRC)

While refugee women’s and girl’s risks and needs rise, health services and support systems are often unavailable.The Minimum Initial Services Package (MISP) for Sexual and Reproductive Health in Crises provides the bare minimum for emergency response.

English
White Paper

Sexual and Reproductive Health During Protracted Crises and Recovery

Published by
World Health Organization (WHO)

Recognizing the gap in sexual and reproductive health services (SRH) in international assistance, the WHO, the UNFPA and other humanitarian partners from the Health Cluster convened in Spain, producing the "Granada Consensus." This statement highlights four priority areas to be addressed in order to facilitate the sustainable provision of SRH services in protracted crises. 

English
Manual/Handbook/Guide

Protecting Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Violence in Disaster and Emergency Situations: A Guide for Local and Community Based Organizations

Published by
End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT)

The promotion and protection of children's rights has been a fundamental aspect of the international human rights system. This manual centers on how to protect children from sexual violence and sexual exploitation, specifically in disaster and emergency situations.

Arabic
English
Manual/Handbook/Guide

Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings

Published by
Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)

The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) issued these Guidelines to enable humanitarian actors to plan, establish and coordinate a set of minimum multi-sectoral responses to protect and improve peoples mental health and psychosocial well-being in the midst of an emergency.

Arabic
English
French
Spanish
Ukrainian
Romanian
Report

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Humanitarian Emergencies: What Should Humanitarian Health Actors Know?

Published by
Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)
World Health Organization (WHO)

This document is for humanitarian health actors working at national and sub-national level in countries facing emergencies and crises. It applies to Health Cluster partners, including governmental and non-governmental health service providers.

English
Arabic
Chinese (Mandarin)
English
French
Japanese
Russian