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The Sphere Project’s Relevance to Emergency Health Assessments and Interventions

Author(s): A. Nadig1
Affiliation(s): 1The Sphere Project, The Sphere Project, Geneva, Switzerland

Health services in emergencies, HIV and AIDS, Psycho-social issues, Measles Communicable diseases, Non-communicable diseases, Reproductive Health


The Sphere Project’s Handbook (Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response), is recognised as a key reference tool for effective and quality-oriented coordination of emergency interventions. It is a collection of minimum standards in disaster response, covering four technical sectors. One of these sectors is Health Services, which also includes psycho-social health.


The presentation will provide a brief introduction to the Sphere Project, including the rationale behind its inception. It will then turn to the four life-saving sectors included in the Handbook, with special focus on “Health Services” and the linkages between it and the other three sectors (Water and Sanitation, Food and Nutrition, Shelter and Non-food items). The presentation will then turn to the revision process of the current Sphere Project Handbook (2004 edition). By April 2010, the text for the 2010 Handbook edition will be available in draft form and can be shared with the conference participants.


The main focus of the presentation will be on the proposed changes to the chapter content. All those changes are influenced by recent developments in humanitarian action, in particular in the fields of disaster risk reduction, climate change and an evolving understanding of the importance of protection. Cross-cutting issues, in particular psycho-social issues and focus on vulnerabilities, will further shape the new text. The Sphere revision process aims at being broadly consultative and consensus-based, bringing together agreed-upon best practice. Therefore, we can share experiences of concrete application of Sphere in emergency health interventions. The Sphere Project is an NGO initiative, launched in 1997. It aims at improving quality and accountability in disaster response.

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