CFE-DM, JCU concludes Health and Humanitarian Action in Emergencies course

December 5, 2017

CAIRNS, Australia – The first Health and Humanitarian Action in Emergencies (HHAE) course concluded Dec. 8 with a closing ceremony in Cairns, Australia.

Hosted at James Cook University’s (JCU) College of Public Health, Medical & Veterinary Sciences, the two-week HHAE course was developed by the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM) in partnership with the university to prepare professionals involved in health and humanitarian action in the region.

“The need for humanitarian action from all spectrums of responders is increasing dramatically. With the tools this course has provided you – both in knowledge and connection to one another – you can return to your organizations and increase the effectiveness of health and disaster preparedness plans,” said Doug Wallace, deputy director of CFE-DM, in his closing remarks. “You now have the ability to inform and better prepare your organizations for future humanitarian crises.”

The HHAE course is a pilot program based on the curriculum of the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Health Emergencies in Large Populations, or H.E.L.P. course, which CFE-DM has been instructing for two decades. Instruction focuses on providing participants with the public health tools, and ethical and principled approaches required in preparing for or responding to humanitarian crises.

“The HHAE course has enhanced my knowledge and has given me the tools in order to respond to humanitarian crises in the case of a disaster,” said Jayson Sebalt, a disaster risk reduction officer from The Republic of Palau’s National Emergency Management Office. “As the DRR officer working at the community level, I will embed it within my work.”

Topics discussed during the course included, but were not limited to: health service planning for emergencies; emergency nutrition and food security; international humanitarian law and ethics in humanitarian action; civil-military coordination; field epidemiology in disasters; sexual and gender-based violence in humanitarian crises; and approaches for responding to the unique complexities of urban humanitarian emergencies.

“CFE-DM’s expertise, the world-class instructors, and JCU’s focus on graduate public health training and capacity building, have proven a highly successful partnership,” said Professor Maxine Whittaker, Dean of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences at JCU. “The frequency and variety of natural disasters in this region leave our Pacific neighbors vulnerable to poor health outcomes, especially when combined with remoteness, climate change and often weak health systems. We hope this program continues for many years to come.”

Course instructors included subject matter experts from James Cook University, World Food Programme, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, RedR Australia, University of the South Pacific, InSiTu Training, Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, and other academic and humanitarian training partners from the region.

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