Virtual Environmental and Humanitarian Adviser Tool – (VEHA Tool) is a tool
to easily integrate environmental considerations in humanitarian response. Field Implementation guidances are useful for the design and execution of humanitarian activities in the field.
Environmental factors such as air pollution or poor water quality influence health and may lead to the requirement to provide health items. For example, the lack of adequate water for hygiene actions may require the provision of external sources of water or substitutes that can provide the functions needed, such as sanitizer instead of water and soap. Also, there are environmental factors affecting the way in which health items are provided or distributed. The physical and natural environment may affect the transportation of health items, e.g. high levels of humidity or rainfall might make it necessary to wrap items in impermeable packaging or tarpaulins, and how these are disposed of after the distribution.
Local environmental hazards can affect distribution such as road deterioration by landslides, or extreme weather events that prevent transportation by air or waterways.
There are also different climatic or environmental factors that might increase the use of health items or accelerate the deterioration of stored essential medical items.
Women and girls are disproportionately affected by the lack of access to basic water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities, due to their needs during periods of increased vulnerability to infection around menstruation and reproduction cycles. Additionally, other groups may have special needs in terms of hygiene practices. For this reason, disaggregate and understand the different groups of people in the community that may have special needs and behaviours when performing hygiene actions. For example, women may be provided with disposable or reusable menstrual pads which will need to be handled after every use. as a consequence, women may need special and additional messages tailored to handle these specific items and the messages need to be created accordingly women’s beliefs. Regarding other groups such as persons with disabilities or HIV/AIDS, create special messages explaining actions that are environmentally sensitive regarding special items they may be using. Regarding sexual health items, messages need to be oriented towards the safe disposal of items such as condoms. Condoms cause problems by clogging sewage drains.
Girls and women in low-resource and emergency contexts without access to adequate menstrual hygiene management facilities and supplies can experience stigma and social exclusion while also foregoing important educational, social, and economic opportunities.
Loss of biodiversity and ecosystems
Natural resource depletion
Properly identify health needs, health items, and health kits based on the culture and context.
Where possible, deliver environmentally sustainable items that are locally sourced. Where they are not available locally, compare the environmental impacts of long haul procurement of sustainable items versus more polluting locally sourced items. Long haul low-impact items usually still have a lower overall negative environmental impact.
– procure medical products and technologies low in chemical content or contain less hazardous alternative chemicals
– ensure safe transport, storage, use of all chemicals and medicines
– develop safe disposal
– minimise plastics
Prevention of environmental damage