Programme Update No. 2;
Period covered: April to June 2003
The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 180 countries. For more information: www.ifrc.org
Appeal coverage: 69%; See attached Contributions List for details.
Outstanding needs: CHF 783,414
Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: N/A
Programme Summary: In May, the Federation launched an emergency appeal for projects on prevention of communicable diseases prepared by several national societies. By the following month, rapid action by the global health community had curtailed the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), enabling the Federation to continue many of its planned activities in the region.
The health and organisational development (OD) programmes focused on strategic planning during this period, providing national societies the potential for achieving comprehensive and consistent programmes. Strategic planning in OD was aimed at improving the effectiveness of national society service delivery and will serve as the foundation to initiate the cooperation agreement strategy (CAS) process next year.
Travel restrictions due to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) led to the cancellatio n or postponement of regional events during most of the second quarter, until late June. The South East Asia partnership meeting has been rescheduled to October. The consequence of such postponements will be the revision of the Appeal budget for the coming period. In May, the Federation launched an emergency SARS appeal aimed at supporting national society SARS prevention initiatives.
Emphasis in the delegation was placed on implementing the work-plan, and on the administrative and managerial structures. The Federation regional management meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the delegation's financial situation and the 'strategy for change'.
Health and Care
Goal: There is a sustainable improvement in the general health of vulnerable communities in the region.
Objective: The region's national societies deliver quality health and care programmes that address the needs of the most vulnerable communities.
1. There is increased capacity in the region's national societies for effective design, planning, implementation and management of relevant high quality health and care programmes. The RHU will support this capacity building process by providing technical assistance and advice to national societies in accordance with specific needs and development plans.
2. Enhanced regional networking for cross-border transfer of technology, information sharing, advocacy, and effective resource mobilisation and utilisation within the region. Underpinning the regional networks will be enhanced focus on increasing the ownership of the membership, with national societies taking on the chair/secretariat role of the networks and, importantly, becoming more committed to supporting one another. The RHU will be instrumental in assisting the networks in developing and implementing cross-border activities.
3. Improved coordination of health and care activities within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and with relevant external agencies in the region, to ensure development of sustainable national soc iety health programmes. The RHU will act as a facilitator in the coordination of health and care activities in the region.
Progress/Achievements (activities implemented within this objective)
Health strategic plans
Strategic planning with the health departments of the Lao and Vietnam Red Cross Societies was delayed to end June, when travel restrictions related to SARS were lifted. A joint planning workshop for health management staff from the two national societies led to the development of draft plans for the strategic planning process in both countries. Their main reason for initiating this process was to ensure consistency between their plans and those of various donors. The strategic planning process in Laos is expected to conclude by the year-end, while it will continue into 2004 in Vietnam.
Health in emergencies
In February 2003, the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) pandemic hit South East Asia. Red Cross Red Crescent societies in the region initiated activities for raising public awareness on the disease, and provided treatment to SARS patients. In May, the Federation launched an emergency appeal for projects on prevention of communicable diseases prepared by several national societies.
In June, the Federation team, led by the regional health unit (RHU), attended the World Health Organisation (WHO) SARS conference and, as a full member, the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) steering committee meeting.
Water and sanitation
The RHU continued to assist national societies in East Timor, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, China and DPR Korea in their water sanitation programmes. Technical support was extended to Oxfam for their project in Vietnam, and to the French and American Red Cross to develop water sanitation components in their programmes in the region.
In the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, the project of supporting 3,000 families with safe drinking water, 150 families with latrines, and community hygiene education was completed. A review of the project showed that it had successfully reached the target families, and facilities were being appropriately used. Red Cross volunteers, community involvement, and focus on hygiene education contributed to the success of the project.
The Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) has introduced the community-based first aid/participatory hygiene and sanitation training (CBFA/PHAST) approach to four chapters, at the branch level. Both the Netherlands and Singapore Red Cross Societies have adopted the same approach in their support to PMI.
Plans and budgets for the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) funded programme for reducing household vulnerability to HIV/AIDS in selected countries in Asia Pacific were finalised during the first quarter of 2003. Programme implementation, in some places as early as January, led to a scaling up of HIV/AIDS activities across the region during the second quarter. It has been a period of developing and implementing new proposals, piloting new initiatives, continuing programmes that were already in place to reflect the needs of the region. Support from the OPEC Fund has allowed national societies in the region to address further the issues of HIV/AIDS, and provided greater depth and coverage to current programmes.
On World Red Cross Red Crescent Day (8 May), almost all national societies in South East Asia participated in the global campaign against HIV/AIDS related stigma and discrimination, using concept materials developed by the Secretariat adapted to local languages and settings.
As planned, an external evaluation of the Asian Regional Taskforce on HIV/AIDS (ART) network's performance over the last five years (1999-2003) was conducted in May. The evaluation included interviews with key stakeholders across the region and visits to four national societies that are members of the network. The ART strategic planning workshop has been postponed from July to September due to travel restrictions imposed during the SARS outbreak. The draft evaluation report is currently being circulated for comments.
Regional blood donor recruitment task force
Some national societies have started preparing for the International Colloquium on Blood Donor Recruitment in Beijing, which has been rescheduled to 2004 after the SARS outbreak.
There is clearly a greater understanding among national societies on the importance of undertaking strategic planning, and several national societies, in addition to Laos and Vietnam, have now requested RHU support for conducting strategic planning in health or HIV/AIDS. It is clear that strategic planning has the potential for achieving more comprehensive and consistent health programmes and participating national societies (PNS) continue to support these initiatives.
The SARS epidemic not only presented a serious threat to the region during the second quarter of 2003, but also resulted in delayed implementation of a number of activities, as most countries in the region imposed severe travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the disease. All regional events were cancelled during April, May and part of June.
The regional health unit and other regional technical units continue to support each other. With the current changes to the operation in East Timor, the heads of the organisational development and health units have taken the lead in assisting the national society. The unit provides technical support to the disaster management unit on national society operations as well as with training components of the disaster management programme.
A sub-regional network of organisations involved in water sanitation is under establishment, with UNICEF, WHO, Plan International, ICRC and the Federation as current participating members. Close coordination with the Australian Red Cross is now expanding beyond the OPEC Fund to include other HIV/AIDS programmes.
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