Health and nutrition programmes are delivered with an emphasis on primary health care and support for secondary hospital care. Our healthcare interventions are based on needs, risks and vulnerabilities, which are determined by a health and nutrition partner and/or UNHCR staff.
Among forcibly displaced populations in developing countries, the top five killers of children under the age of five are malaria, malnutrition, measles, diarrhoea and respiratory tract infections. Our priorities and those of our partners at the start of an emergency are measles immunization, nutritional support, control of communicable diseases and epidemics, implementation of the reproduction health measures and public health surveillance. As the situation stabilizes, these services are enlarged. In more developed and urban settings, public health priorities among adults shift toward cardiovascular and chronic diseases and cancers.
Mental health support
Most refugees are remarkably resilient and are able to move on despite their distressing experiences. We provide counselling and other psychosocial support to the very small number of people forced to flee who need such help. Our response is critical when social structures and essential services have broken down.
For refugees who need it, proper mental health care empowers them to cope with the challenges of displacement, take care of their families, earn a living, and contribute to their communities.
Using data to protect refugee health
We use an online platform called Twine to manage and analyse public health data collected in refugee operations. Data is collected using a number of different tools, which cover a range of sectors and operational settings. UNHCR and partners select the most appropriate combination of tools in Twine to design, monitor and evaluate their public health programmes.
The aim is to improve the health status of people of concern through evidence-based policy formulation, improved management of health programmes and, ultimately, direct actions that improve refugee health.
Public health: strategies, documents and reports
- Public Health Strategies and Policies
- Mental health and psychosocial support
- Public Health Lessons Learned and Field Experiences
- Public Health Assessment, Monitoring, Evaluation
- Public Health Annual Reports
- UNHCR's Principles and Guidance for Referral Health Care for Refugees and Other Persons of Concern
Public health guidance
A collection of manuals and guidelines relating to the health of refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR.
- Promoting treatment adherence for refugees and persons of concern in health care settings - Tips for health workers 15 Mar 2019
- Malaria Prevention - Quick check list 7 Jul 2014
- UNHCR's Essential Medicines and Medical Supplies Nov 2013