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.

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VEHA - Sector Planning Guidance

Health Systems - Healthcare workforce

Health Systems – Healthcare workforce

Sector result

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


Define the indicators

% or # of healthcare workers that have received health training which include environmental considerations (e.g.: management of essential medical items, technologies and of waste management)

% or # of health care worker vacancies / staff shortages.

% or # of local health care workers to expats% or # of health care workers with sufficient adequate PPE to carry out their work safely


Ask Questions

Does your intervention consider the environmental determinants of health in the local area in the provision of advice, health promotion, surveillance, coordination or training?

Do health professionals and support staff have access to and knowledge of an appropriate range of safe, sustainable waste management methods appropriate to the the different types of health, medical and general waste produced?

Are health worker staff vacancies higher than in other similar country programmes?

Do HR recruitment policies actively promote recruitment and capacity building of local staff wherever possible, in preference to employing expatriate staff?

Do Health staff have sufficient, high quality PPE to enable them to undertake their day to day work without exposure to inappropriate health risks?


Include a Source of Verification

The health assessment checklist should include a security and access section where the following issues can be reviewed: determine the existence of environmental hazards that could impact human health; determine the overall security situation, including the presence of armed forces; determine the access that humanitarian organisations have to the crisis-affected population.

Recruitment records.

HR policies.

Logistics procurement records and staff questionnaires.


Consult Guidance & Examples

• For Construction of healthcare and sanitation facilities (showers, toilets, laundry points etc.), it is crucial to include environmentally sustainable sourcing of construction materials as a condition within procurement / construction contracts, as well as efficient use of construction materials, minimisation and re-use of construction waste; regular elimination of stagnant water and any food waste; installation of mosquito-repellent plants (e.g. limonsillo) and mosquito screens and bed nets, to protect workers and patients; and efficient water and energy systems to reduce consumption.
See the Smart Hospitals Toolkit for recommendations .

• Whilst insecure contexts and low country salaries may make recruitment more challenging in some contexts, it is always possible to compare similar countries to help understand and address drivers of staff shortages.

• Whilst it is often easier to recruit expatriates, those expatriates will ultimately leave and take valuable local knowledge with them. Local people may require additional training if they have not had sufficient access to training locally. However, they will bring greater local knowledge and cultural understanding; they will have lower environmental impacts than expatriates; and they are more likely to remain in country after the crisis.

• Although it may be easier to conclude that adequate PPE is not available locally within the general health system, and therefore staff may accept shortages, protection of staff is one of our primary responsibilities. All staff in all contexts should be provided the same levels of PPE that enable them to undertake their duties safely, without undue risk of harm.

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