Humanitarian Health Action

Tool for monitoring the implementation of the Health Cluster

The implementation of the Health Cluster in countries is a complex process. It is not only about establishing a consistent mechanism but aims to implement and to fulfil the functions indicated in the Health Cluster Guide and in the Guidance Note on using the Cluster Approach to strengthen Humanitarian Response from the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC). It is important to monitor, in detail, the progress of the implementation process of the Health Cluster.

To support this process, the department of Health Action in Crises has been working on a tool for monitoring the implementation of the Health Cluster at country level. The tool is mainly developed to assist in: a) identifying actions for supporting the Health Cluster implementation process, b) taking corrective action if some areas are lagging behind and c) reporting internally and to donors on progress achieved.

A pilot mission to Zimbabwe took place from 27-30 October 2009. The purpose of the mission was to test the Tool for Monitoring the Implementation of the Health Cluster, to explain the logic of the development process of the monitoring tool to Health Cluster partners and donors, to discuss improvements of the tool with them and, through testing the tool, to set the basis for developing a profile of the Health Cluster in the country.

Based on the outcomes of the pilot mission to Zimbabwe, the WHO has been developing a preliminary draft of such a profile of the Health Cluster in Zimbabwe. This draft report concentrates on the functionality of the Cluster, with respect to the fundamental responsibilities indicated in the matrix of roles and responsibilities within the Health Cluster.

In November 2009, at the Global Health Cluster meeting in Nairobi, a monitoring tool for country cluster implementation was deemed necessary. It was agreed in Nairobi that this initiative would be taken by the GHC Working Group to refine the tool and define a methodological approach for its application.

In order to further develop the GHC tool for monitoring country cluster implementation a Task Force consisting of representatives from IMC, Save UK, UNHCR, UNICEF and WHO was established during the GHC Working-Group meeting in December 2009.

Since February 2010, the Task Force has worked to finalize the process for developing the Tool for Monitoring the Implementation of the Health Cluster and to standardize the format of the report resulting from the monitoring tool’s application, in order to produce a profile of the Health Cluster at country level. It envisages finalizing the development process of the monitoring tool by Easter, 2010.