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World Humanitarian Summit: Istanbul 23rd May 2016 SPECIAL SESSION on GLOBAL HEALTH

Dr. Caroline Kisia, Executive Director, Action Africa Help International.


Securing the health and well-being of crisis-affected communities is one of the primary goals of humanitarian action. United Nations’ surveys reveal that health is consistently among the top three priorities for crisis-affected communities[1].Action Africa Help International welcomes the commitment under Outcome 2 to stronger national and community capacities to prepare for and handle health crises.


Lessons learned from the recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa underline the need for local capacity to identify, understand and manage health emergencies to ensure a rapid response and save lives. Poor understanding of, and lack of support for strengthening, existing local capacity meant failures on the ground to identify and contain the epidemic in a timely manner. This capacity goes beyond the formal business concepts of capacity in the way  it has come to be understood in the humanitarian sectors and extends to subtler concepts such as an understanding of local socio-cultural values and practices, community sensitivities, pre-existing relationships with communities and institutions,


While flying in large numbers of global health experts helped contain the epidemic, some of the steep learning curves were unnecessary, and it did little to strengthen local healthcare systems or build preparedness for future health crises. In fact, pressure put on NGOs with no expertise in health and logistics to manage Ebola emergency treatment, by major donors, only worsened the situation.


Local health staff and community health workers are among the heroes of humanitarian action. These heroes must be given access to the training, resources and support they require to carry out their work safely and effectively. This is increasingly important in light of the growing scale of humanitarian risks and needs. Governments and the international community have pressing responsibilities to build local capacity to manage risks and respond to emergencies at local and national levels.



Responses to health needs in humanitarian crises and other health emergencies face similar challenges. The health sector suffers disproportionately in conflict situations compared to other areas of life-saving humanitarian action. Health status can deteriorate over protracted periods of conflict due to disruptions in health services and routine health programmes. Damaged or destroyed health infrastructure requires significant investment to rebuild, and it can take years to replace a skilled health workforce who have been injured, killed, or whom have fled.



The very right to health and sanctity of health care are under serious threat, particularly in today’s humanitarian contexts. Long-term presence and combined adapted developmental and humanitarian approaches are therefore needed.


We welcome the commitment to flexible and equitable multi-year resourcing for securing health in crises as proposed, which is needed to deliver Outcome 2. It is equally important that sufficient funds and support reach local organizations in order to more fully utilize their capacities. Longer-term funding in particular should be used to enable development of local healthcare systems. This kind of funding should also be availed for humanitarian institutions to provide support for research, training and operations linked to health in humanitarian action.


The Sustainable Development Goals will not be met unless we tackle the challenges of protecting health and delivering health assistance during protracted conflict.



Securing health also requires contributions from all sectors, not just health as well as inclusion of all actors including NGOs, faith-based/religious organisations, governments and the private sector. Success will be achieved through collective, intersectoral, humanitarian action.


[1]One of the most comprehensive needs assessments conducted in Syria in 2013, found that “key informants consistently ranked health needs as the first priority, followed by food security and WASH needs”

Antimicrobial resistance: what you need to know


Bacteria and other disease-causing microbes are becoming drug-resistant. We look at why this is and what can be done\



What is antimicrobial resistance?

Bacteria and other microbes that cause diseases in humans and animals arebecoming increasingly resistant to previously effective drugs. And this is potentially a big problem. The World Health Organisation fears we are heading for a “post-antibiotic era in which common infections and minor injuries, which have been treatable for decades, can once again kill”. One health expert described resistance to antibiotics as “a silent tsunami, crumbling down the pillars upon which modern medicine is built”.


Why is it in the news?

Antimicrobial resistance will become “an even greater threat to mankind than cancer” without global action, according to the UK’s chancellor, George Osborne.


Read more:


Article and photo credit: The guardian




NGOs urge Government of Kenya to reconsider intended closure of refugee camps

Over the years, Kenya has been recognised as a safe haven for persons seeking refuge from conflict and environmental disasters. We the undersigned NGOs view as unfortunate the position assumed by the Government of Kenya, in a statement issued by the Ministry of Interior on the 6th of May, 2016 that disbands the Department of Refugee Affairs (DRA) and indicates that this will be followed by the closure of the Dadaab and Kakuma camps within the shortest time possible.

Shutting down the refugee camps will mean increased protection risks for the thousands of refugees and asylum seekers – majority of who are women, children and unaccompanied minors.

Read our joint statement here

Women enrolled for El Wak Project

Women have their details captured during an enrolment exercise for the El Wak Project 


Forty women were recently registered and are set to benefit from activities of the AAH-I's livelihood project in El Wak, Gedo Region, Somalia. Most of the women run small businesses in El Wak Town. The exercise was jointly conducted with Nomadic Assistance for Peace and Development (NAPAD), AAH-I's partner on the project. 

Saafi Mohamud Ahmed, 36, and a mother of four and married for the last 17 years talked to one of the project officers on the sidelines. “I have a small shop in town in which I have stocked foodstuffs and women’s clothes,” she says.
AAH Somalia launched the Integrated Community Rehabilitation programme in February, this year, a three-year project in El Wak District that targets two locations. These are El Wak Town and Ausqurun, located about 80 kilometres from the town.

The project is expected to support women such as Saafi gain knowledge on financial literacy, entrepreneurial skills and good agricultural/pastoral practices. This is through establishment of kitchen gardens and training women milk vendors on safe handling process of the product and value chain addition.

Saafi says she hopes to acquire skills in business. “I am looking forward to getting skills and if possible some money to expand my small shop,” she says. "I am glad I will be one of the people the project will train. I really want to learn how I can run a successful business and have more money to support my family." 



Staff urged to embrace team working


Dr Tabayi, AAH-I Board chairman plants an avocado tree at the AAH Yei office compound


AAH South Sudan staff have been urged to embrace teamwork in order to serve communities better. Dr John Tabayi, AAH-I International Board chairman, encouraged staff to work more closely with all stakeholders.

Speaking while touring AAH South Sudan projects in Yei River State, Dr Tabayi told staff in the different health facilities to serve the community with diligence. “Carry out health education outreach programmes to sensitise community members on preventable disease. This will help people embrace good health habits,” he said.

He witnessed some of the challenges communities face in accessing healthcare services and the struggling health facilities. Inadequate supply of drugs and lack of fridges for storing vaccines were some critical issues that would need to be addressed in some areas. Other facilities such as Mugwo Primary Health Care Centre in Yei were in need of expansion to cater for the more residents.

Dr Tabayi was accompanied by the AAH South Sudan board chairman, Hon Khamis Benz, the Country Director Emmanuel Minari and Steven Gaga Lukudu, a new board member for South Sudan. During the State visit, Dr Tabayi and the team planted fruit trees in commemoration  of the AAH-I  founder, the late Dr Vivian. P. Erasmus.

Inspiring story ahead of the World Refugee day.