Working with others
The Emergency Health Unit is usually deployed for up to three months during the very first phase of an emergency or for a spike in needs during a protracted crisis. Our teams do not replace the broader healthcare systems in a country. They focus on treating children’s immediate life-threatening illnesses and injuries and training local healthcare workers to provide assistance.
After three months, the Emergency Health Unit usually step back and prepare for the next emergency but can extend if needed. They hand over to Save the Children health professionals, the Ministry of Health or trusted partners, ensuring children continue to receive the quality care they need. Throughout the response Save the Children’s staff in child protection, counselling and education will step in, too, when children need them.
Image: Save the Children
The Emergency Health Unit can also deploy to high-risk countries before an emergency happens. For example, our teams can arrive in a country just before a cyclone hits, so they are ready to respond immediately after the cyclone has passed. The Emergency Health Unit also provides Emergency Preparation support to high risk countries to build the capacity of local staff; develop health-specific contingency plans, risk monitoring and early response plans; and conduct mass vaccination campaigns to prevent disease outbreaks.
Case study: Rohingya refugee crisis
A major escalation of violence in Myanmar in 2017 forced more than 655,000 Rohingya people to flee to Bangladesh, sparking a huge humanitarian crisis. The Emergency Health Unit set up nine health primary health clinics and one 24/7 inpatient centre in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. Some health centres are in remote areas providing vital access to medical care for the most vulnerable children. So far, the centres have provided health services for more than 200,000 people.
Image: Jonathan Hyams/Save the Children
“I thought here would be the best place for both of us,” says Humaira* who gave birth in the inpatient centre. “I came here before when I was pregnant, so I knew there were good doctors to take care of us.”
The Emergency Health Unit also responded to a diphtheria outbreak and supported with flood and cholera emergency planning.
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