WHO commends humanitarian workers across globe

New Delhi: The World Health Organisation South-East Asia chapter on Sunday commended humanitarian workers across the globe for their life-saving assistance and long-term rehabilitation of communities affected by acute events.

On the occasion of ‘World Humanitarian Day’, WHO South-East Asia Regional Director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh praised these humanitarian workers for their courage and determination to operate in difficult situations.

“Humanitarian workers are the backbone of every effective, life-saving humanitarian response. Though the role of a humanitarian worker is straightforward, the situations they must operate in are far from it: From natural disasters such as earthquakes and cyclones to disease outbreaks, war and even radiological emergencies, functioning effectively require a special set of skills and a deep well of fortitude,” Poonam Khetrapal Singh said.

“In recent years, frontline health workers have been provided critical training in mass casualty management and basic emergency protocol, while higher-level officials have engaged in risk communication training,” she said.

WHO’s South-East Asia Region encompasses member-states of Bangladesh, Bhutan, North Korea, India, Indonesia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

“Our region has created its own innovative mechanism — The South-East Asia Regional Health Emergency Fund (SEARHEF) — to which member-states contribute funds which are then disbursed in case of an emergency,” the WHO official said.

“To date, SEARHEF funds have been used in nine of the region’s 11 member-states and covered 37 emergency operations, with disbursements of more than $5.9 million,” she added.