Virtual Environmental and Humanitarian Adviser Tool – (VEHA Tool) is a tool
to easily integrate environmental considerations in humanitarian response. Sector Planning guidances allow you to environmentally align your project strategy design.

back to sector

VEHA - Sector Planning Guidance

Health Systems - Healthcare essential medical products and technologies

Health Systems – Healthcare essential medical products and technologies

Sector result

Ensure appropriate health response while minimising any negative programme impact on the natural environment


Define the indicators

% or # of affected households or healthcare facilities who appropriately recycle or dispose of used or expired essential medical products

# municipalities / communities that have a waste collection and landfill plan

# of out of inappropriate medicine and equipment donations rejected before shipping.


Ask Questions

Does your intervention include activities that will strengthen the environmentally appropriate management of medical waste, which do not increase the burden on local authorities?

Have you taken measures to minimise the impact of packaging and waste from distributions of healthcare services and items, and planned for the sanitary and safe disposal of essential medical products where necessary?

Are you actively assessing all offers of medicine and equipment donations and actively rejecting medicines that are out of date, near expiry, not required locally, and rejecting equipment that is out of date, near the end of life or that cannot be efficiently maintained locally?


Include a Source of Verification

Ensure environmental criteria (packing and transport) are set to select appropriate healthcare products, healthcare essential medical products, and technologies

Include and monitor waste management into the distribution plan

Review of donation records.


Consult Guidance & Examples

• Properly assess the environmental sustainability of all essential medical products and technologies and health kits procured and distributed, ensuring or promoting local acceptance related to cultural expectations and context, minimizing waste production. Strategic selection of items for distribution can reduce resource consumption and waste generation. For example, where locally procured items have a shorter usable life, this results in increased amounts of waste, which is often not recyclable or compostable.

• Consider the quality, useful life, and environmental sustainability of items available in the local or international market before purchasing. Negotiate with suppliers to minimise the amount of wrapping and packaging and remove as much as possible prior to distribution. Promote solutions that do not rely on plastics, such as biodegradable safe packaging. Aim to reuse/repurpose items when they reach the end of their intended life, so long as it is safe and responsible to do so and does not entail external health risks. There should be a collection or return and disposal/reuse plan for items from the time of procurement. Consider the future need of the items post-crisis, and if multi-functional items are an option.

• Sustainable actions in order to protect and control the usage of the available resources to perform the health actions, use and maintain healthcare infrastructure properly.

• Minimise energy consumption through the selection of low energy technologies or renewable powered technologies •Use of inappropriate equipment and devices can lead to their failure, nonuse, expiry and disposal, causing waste and pollution. This should be actively looked for and avoided to prevent creating additional burdens on poorer countries and local health authorities who cannot manage them.

to top
icon-menu icon-close icon-account icon-arrow icon-down icon-back icon-pointed-arrow icon-left icon-up icon-bookmark icon-share twitter facebook2 printer envelope icon-close-alt icon-top icon-loading icons / login