Humanitarian interventions in the Pacific region have become more complex and the constraints in carrying them out increasingly difficult to overcome. In response to these challenges, the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance and James Cook University’s College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences in Cairns, Queensland, Australia have jointly developed the Health and Humanitarian Action in Emergencies (HHAE) workshop to build capacity for professionals working or interested in working in the Pacific Region on the principles and practices of humanitarian relief, providing participants a multi-disciplinary vision of humanitarian strategy in the provision of public health and medical interventions in humanitarian crises.
HHAE is a two-week educational event that supports theater security cooperation by building capacity within the Oceania region to manage of public health humanitarian emergencies. Multi-disciplinary facilitated group work by subject matter experts is used with and exchanges of ideas among participants from the region. Participants are selected for educational benefits, and also from their potential to contribute. Important learning takes place among participants both in and outside the classroom. The HHAE framework includes military participants and Interagency representatives. The collective benefit is more than an educational experience. It is also a networking opportunity for civil and military participants to develop an appreciation for each other’s frames of reference before meeting in the field during a disaster. HHAE emphasizes optimal roles and division of labor between relief agencies and military forces from assisting states during responses. The sharing of civ-mil best practices in major disaster responses is a key part of the workshop.
The HHAE Workshop has been designed to provide a wide range of professionals involved in humanitarian action the public health tools, ethical and principled approaches required in preparing for or responding to humanitarian crises, whether they are natural disasters (e.g. geophysical, hydrological, meteorological or biological) or complex emergencies (e.g. combination of man-made crises and natural disasters). The workshop will also focus on multi-disciplinary prevention and response to infectious diseases outbreaks and public health emergencies in the Pacific Region.
CFE-DM supports nearly a hundred events such as exercises, conferences and symposia that educates hundreds of international and domestic civilian, military, and humanitarian professionals each year in disaster management, humanitarian assistance, and global public health. For twenty-one years, CFE-DM has focused on improving the health of populations affected by humanitarian crises by conducting the Health Emergencies in Large Populations (H.E.L.P.) workshop in joint collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the University of Hawaii. CFE-DM employs a multi-disciplinary team of researchers, practitioners and facilitators with backgrounds working with humanitarian, governmental, and non-governmental organizations and academic institutions. CFE-DM conducts collaborative workshop/conferences, research, and exercises annually with the United Nations, ICRC, International Federation of the Red Cross, World Food Programme, RedR Australia, the Australian Civil-Military Centre, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Columbia University and the Pacific Disaster Center.
Public Health and Tropical Medicine represents one of the largest graduate public health programs in Australasia, and has a distinguished record at James Cook University, making the University an ideal partner in the design and delivery of the Health and Humanitarian Action in Emergencies workshop.
JCU’s College of Public Health Medical and Veterinary Sciences maintains a history and ongoing commitment to support under-privileged areas of the Tropics with a particular focus on the challenges facing health professionals working in tropical, rural and remote locations. Special attention is given to the needs of high-risk community groups, including refugee and migrant populations, and Indigenous Australians. The World Health Organization’s Collaborating Centre supports JCU’s research capacity-building in the area of neglected tropical diseases in the Western Pacific region and has become a partner with JCU for the Global Outbreak Alert Response Network (GOARN).
HHAE Topics and Objectives:
Innovative trends, recent natural disasters, and infectious disease outbreak challenges in the Pacific Region will be woven into the curriculum for relevancy and transmission of up-to-date information for participants working in the region. The workshop undergoes rigorous academic and quality reviews to ensure the delivery of a comprehensive, evidence- and competency-based curriculum, incorporating pioneering approaches in the planning and delivery of public health interventions.
Workshop topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Health Service Planning for Emergencies
- Field-based Epidemiological Surveillance and Assessment
- Communicable Disease Control and Prevention Strategies in Humanitarian Crises
- Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Challenges in Humanitarian Crises
- Emergency Nutrition and Food Security in Humanitarian Crises
- Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Crises
- Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs
- Mental Health and Psychosocial Support
- Vulnerable Populations in Humanitarian Crises
- Non-Communicable Disease Control and Prevention in Humanitarian Crises
- Humanitarian Principles
- Humanitarian and Medical Ethics
- International Humanitarian Law
- Civil-Military Coordination
- Role and Influence of Media
- Humanitarian Security Strategies
- Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination
- WHO Emergency Medical Team Initiative
- Humanitarian Security Strategies
The Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance, James Cook University’s College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, and supporting subject matter experts are internationally-recognized faculty and field-experienced practitioners that understand the unique complexities of public health preparedness and response activities for humanitarian crises in the Pacific Region. Facilitation team members for the HHAE workshop have backgrounds working for U.N. agencies, international organizations, academic institutions, and international non-governmental organizations. The culmination of their experiences delivers a world-class event that ensures participants are exposed to best practices from major humanitarian emergencies in the region through case studies and interactive exercises. They further facilitate exchanges among participants to ensure a sharing of views in a collaborative space that enhances learning and networking among civil-military professionals in this field.