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Public Health and Nutrition in operationalizing the Global Compact on Refugees and comprehensive responses

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INTRODUCTION

Within UNHCR public health covers various areas including primary health care, nutrition and food security, reproductive health and HIV, mental health and integrated refugee Health Information Systems (iRHIS). Sectoral programming in a comprehensive response context means applying a whole of-government (i.e. relevant national and local authorities for health and nutrition response) multi-stakeholder approach and planning with relevant partners. The overall responsibility of coordinating the health sector response in refugee-only situations will be with the Ministry of Health, with support of UNHCR and relevant partners. A wide range of partners play a role in planning and delivering public health interventions in different areas and at different stages of the refugee response. For an effective and comprehensive response it is therefore essential to know how and when to engage these various partners. Though the establishment of refugee-specific services may be needed in the early phases of a refugee situation, longer term solutions are required to ensure that refugees have access to services through the national health system. Host countries may require assistance from other partners, including international organizations but also local partners, to make the necessary adjustments to comprehensively include refugee health needs into national development and local health plans, to strengthen/reinforce national and local resilience of national and local health systems to meet the health needs of refugees and host communities.