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Featured News Training for health and humanitarian action in emergencies

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Fri, 1 Dec 2017

Training for health and humanitarian action in emergencies

Four people inside a temporary shelter
Delegates tried their hands at building a temporary shelter from basic materials. Photo: Katherine Kokkonen

Twenty-three delegates from 12 countries are attending a training course in Cairns designed to strengthen capacity for emergency response and disaster management, especially in the Pacific region.

Health and Humanitarian Action in Emergencies is a two-week course developed by the Hawaii-based Centre for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM) in partnership with James Cook University.

“We’re bringing together people from a wide range of civilian, military and humanitarian professions who are involved in humanitarian responses to crises, whether they are natural disasters, man-made, or a complex mix of the two,” said CFE-DM Director Joseph Martin.

“The course is built upon a foundation of curriculum developed by the International Committee of the Red Cross that we’ve been teaching for 20 years. It is designed to give participants the public health tools and ethical and principled approaches needed to help communities survive and recover from major emergencies.”

The two-week course, which runs this week and next, covers topics ranging from water, sanitation and hygiene to food security, communicable disease control, and shelter.

“Our focus is particularly on the Pacific region, where JCU has a long history of involvement in research, teaching, capacity building and of course as a neighbour,” Professor Maxine Whittaker, Dean of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences at JCU said.

“This is a region that is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters, and potentially more so as the impacts of climate change unfold. We’re very aware of the complexities of managing human, public, animal and environmental health for the best possible outcome, and for that reason we’re excited to be combining our expertise with CFE-DM, which has a distinguished record in this area.”

Course topics include: health service planning for emergencies; emergency nutrition and food security; civil-military coordination; the role and influence of media; sexual and gender-based violence in humanitarian crises; and lessons from Typhoon Haiyan and crises in the built environment.

The course will be taught by CFE-DM and JCU’s College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, along with experts from the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the World Food Program, RedR Australia, and other academic and training institutions.

The course will run at James Cook University in Smithfield from Monday 27 November to Friday 8 December.