|International Health Relief Assistance (PAHO, 1986, 32 pages)|
Foreign health relief assistance should be provided following consultation with the Ministry of Health official having responsibility or authority for coordinating and managing the health relief effort.
Concerned that international health relief assistance offered or provided by governmental or nongovernmental organizations be in compliance with the immediate and long-term priorities established by national health authorities;
Convinced that the negative impact of disasters on long-term health development may be more important than the immediate visible consequences; and
Recognizing the experience acquired by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/ WHO) in the field of health management following disasters and relief coordination,
1. Foreign health relief assistance always be provided following consultation with the Ministry of Health official having responsibility/authority for coordination and management of the health relief effort or an organization which each country designates at the national level (National Health Disaster Coordinator). Prospective donors should refrain from acting upon requests or information received from unauthorized sources. Upon request of the affected country, the Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Coordinator (UNDRO) and PAHO/ WHO will assist in ensuring that proposed assistance meets genuine needs and complies with the health priorities and WHO scientific norms.
2. National health authorities designate a National Health Disaster Coordinator who will liaise with national and voluntary organizations and the international community.
3. Countries/agencies anxious to provide effective relief assistance and avoid duplication in the health field refrain from sending donations or personnel without prior consultation with the Ministry of Health, or organization designated by each country, UNDRO, or PAHO/WHO Representative, which will act as an information clearinghouse.
4. Immediate specific assistance may be provided on some occasions as necessary, taking advantage of the experience of donor countries in very special problems (e.g., utilization of highly specialized rescue teams).