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 might increase health needs and the use of health items as well as increase the need for staff. Healthcare workers’ safety depends on various factors including environmental factors. Environmental hazards can increase the risk healthcare workers face in general and on a daily basis. Additionally, as environmental factors affect the population’s health, it indirectly plays a role in the workers’ safety. For example, if environmental factors contribute to disease spread, it can lead to a higher number of cases which in turn increases the risk for healthcare workers to get infected.
Moreover, natural hazards affect the entire local population, including the healthcare workers present in the location. Workers also face risks in relation to items and services related to healthcare, such as unmanaged healthcare waste or unsafe health processes.
Ensure equal training opportunities for women, the disabled, and others. Additionally, it is important to ensure women’s safety in the workplace.
Natural resource Depletion
Impact on wellbeing / mental health
Untrained staff can implement health activities that have undesired negative environmental impacts, such as creating waste, pollution, or even spreading disease. This increases the risks healthcare workers face as well as causes further health problems to the population through the contamination of air, water, and soil.
Degradation of the surrounding environment can increase the impacts of existing environmental hazards.
Training staff according to national and international standards helps ensure the appropriate management of health facilities, essential medical products, and technologies, which in turn helps ensure workers’ safety. For example, staff needs to be properly trained in order to ensure adequate and safe disposal and management of medical items, including plastic and other recyclable products as well as chemical and hazardous products. This will not only ensure staff safety but also reduce possible environmental impacts, such as water and soil contamination.
Additionally, if the surrounding environment is depleted or polluted, healthcare workers face higher vulnerability and risks from environmental hazards. For example, deforestation increases the risk of landslides during heavy rains or floods.
UNICEF responding to the Covid-19 spread in Yemen demonstrated that there were existing trained health staff available in the community who could be incentivised to return to work in the public health sector and help reduce the spread of the disease. Their refresher training included environmental determinants of health.
# of trainings that address environmental determinants of health, environmental vulnerabilities, environmental hazards, behaviours, adaptations and mitigations.
Time and resources to develop and adapt training to address environmental drivers, risks, hazards, behaviours and impacts as well as adaptations and mitigations.