Emergency and humanitarian action

WHO sets up advisory group to guide post-quake recovery support in Nepal

The World Health Organization has set up an advisory group to guide its support to earthquake-hit Nepal for rebuilding resilient health systems. Over 80% health facilities have been damaged in 14 districts worst hit by earthquakes that rocked Nepal on 25 April and 12 May this year.

“Improving health system in Nepal as it goes through recovery, requires all of us to rethink and innovate. Long-term development and scaling up risk reduction and preparedness for the health sector are key features of WHO’s ongoing engagement in Nepal, ” Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia, told the first meeting of the advisory group in New Delhi on July 31.

The advisory group, comprising of academicians, policy makers, social scientists, economists, epidemiologists and other experts, will advise on WHO strategic approaches to ensure that the needs of the affected people are met through the process of transition from response to recovery and development.

Dr Khetrapal Singh said, “the task ahead for recovery and reconstruction is huge. We must prepare ourselves so that we are ready with the right capacity in place to assist Nepal to move forward quickly in the effective and rapid implementation of recovery plans.”

Set up for a year to cover the post-earthquake recovery and development phase in Nepal, the group will make recommendations for the existing health sector plans to be in line with the principles of equity, human rights and gender equality, focusing on vulnerable groups such as women of reproductive age, children and the elderly.

WHO has been working closely with the Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP), Nepal, on the health sector response, which post-earthquake focused on trauma management and temporary reinstatement of the critical health services, and is now transitioning to early recovery and reconstruction.