This Guide suggests how the Health Cluster lead agency, coordinator and partners can work together during a humanitarian crisis to achieve the aims of reducing avoidable mortality, morbidity and disability, and restoring the delivery of and equitable access to preventive and curative health care as quickly as possible. It highlights key principles of humanitarian health action and how coordination and joint efforts among health sector actors working in partnership can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of health interventions. It draws on Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and other documents but also includes lessons from field experience.
Chapter 1 explains the role of a Health Cluster at national and, where needed, sub-national levels, and suggests the principal actions that need to be taken during different phases of response. A table in section 1.2 summarises the main roles and functions of the health cluster coordinator (HCC), the country cluster lead agency (CLA), and cluster partners. Chapters 2 outlines what needs to be done to establish and sustain an effective cluster while chapters 3 to 8 provide guidance in relation to the specific functions listed in section 1.2. Each chapter highlights the key principles, summarizes what needs to be done and considered, lists the tools and guidelines that are available, indicates the challenges likely to be faced, and provides practical hints and references for further guidance. The tools and guidelines referred to include, but are not limited to, those developed by the Global Health Cluster.