Health and Nutrition in Emergencies

Ibtisam, a Syrian refugee, and her newborn baby, Dalaa, in Jordan’s Za'atari refugee camp. Save the Children supports mothers in Syrian refugee camps across Jordan to ensure their infants and young children have optimal nutrition through breastfeeding counseling and nutrition education.

Ibtisam, a Syrian refugee, and her newborn baby, Dalaa, in Jordan’s Za'atari refugee camp. Save the Children supports mothers in Syrian refugee camps across Jordan to ensure their infants and young children have optimal nutrition through breastfeeding counseling and nutrition education.

In the immediate aftermath of a disaster or conflict, and throughout the transition from emergency response to recovery and sustainable development, Save the Children’s presence in 120 countries facilitates the rapid delivery of evidence-based and innovative health and nutrition interventions that address the major causes of illness and death among the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Save the Children’s Emergency Health and Nutrition programs focus on basic lifesaving maternal, newborn and child healthcare, communicable disease prevention and control, the Minimum Initial Service Package for reproductive health in crises (MISP), including adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH), family planning, detection and treatment of acute malnutrition and breastfeeding promotion.

These program interventions are facilitated in close collaboration with national health authorities and through engagement with national and sub-national coordination mechanisms. In cases where local infrastructure and capacity are significantly diminished, Save the Children provides direct services as an interim measure until the transition of these services to local authorities is possible.

Emergency Health and Nutrition programs, where appropriate and feasible, are integrated with Save the Children’s other priority sectors including Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Child Protection, Education and Food Security and Livelihoods. This integration enables a holistic approach to meeting the needs of children and their families in times of crisis.

Program Highlights

  • In 2014, Save the Children responded to the West Africa Ebola virus outbreak in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, where we are increasing access to care through the establishment of the first-ever Ebola Community Care Centers in Liberia and Ebola Treatment Centers in Sierra Leone and Liberia; restoring health systems through distribution of infection control materials, essential medications and medical equipment to clinics and hospitals; and promoting community-level awareness and transmission prevention through communications, hand washing facilities and tracing of contacts.
  • We worked with community assistance shelters at the U.S.-Mexico border to improve privacy and bathing conditions for women and children, used child-friendly activities to promote hand washing, distributed hygiene kits and trained our staff on common health concerns for women and children crossing the border from Central America.
  • In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, more than 8,000 children under the age of five were screened for malnutrition and over 20,000 people received care through mobile health clinics.
  • Following Hurricane Sandy, we conducted a rapid health and nutrition assessment of shelters in New Jersey that identified the need for supplemental feeding support, which we provided to the Red Cross through food donations.
  • Save the Children vaccinated nearly 220,000 of Syria’s children against polio and provided care to refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. For example, new mothers in Jordan’s Za'atari refugee camp receive counseling on breastfeeding.

Where We Work

In recent years, Save the Children responded to health and nutrition emergencies in more than 20 countries, including: Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, Niger, Pakistan, The Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan, the United States and Yemen.

To learn more about our global emergency health and nutrition programs, please click on the image below to access our brochure.

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