Rosa, age 7, holds her younger brother, Manuel, on the veranda of a guesthouse in Buzi. They are two of hundreds of thousands of children affected by deadly Cyclone Idai in Mozambique. With access to some of the districts affected being a major challenge, a lot of those children were in need for health care.

Protection is an intrinsic part of healthcare response which itself is a human right protected in international humanitarian law. Ensuring health care is impartial and based upon need without discrimination, promoting neutrality, working with the community in program design and gaining acceptance assists relevant programming.

Having a people centred approach to health care delivery, understanding and responding to the protection needs of different groups that are at risk or socially marginalised is critical for a full humanitarian health response.

Obligations of healthcare partners to deliver response where populations can safely access care, in a safe environment, receive safe care in a timely manner and safely refer patients to other levels of care or sectors are fundamental tenets of protection and health. Wider consideration should be given to at risk and socially marginalised groups to also support the full realisation of their human rights and life with dignity, protection and security.

Affected people such as children, women, older people, people living with disabilities, those with mental health conditions, victims of explosive remnants of war (ERW) / mines, survivors of gender-based violence (GBV), may require a range of clinical, mental health and psychosocial, legal and livelihood interventions that no one sector can provide that requires close collaboration.

This is why the Global Protection Cluster and it’s partners responsible for child protection, gender based violence, housing, land and property and mine action along with the Global Health Protection in collaboration  with USAID are joining efforts to develop a  joint operational approach to set clear guidance and actions for an integrated response to health and protection coordination and service delivery.