The Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief unit of PAHO/WHO in the Caribbean hosted for the first time the Health Cluster Coordinators Training Workshop from 28-30 June 2011 in Barbados. Twenty one participants attended this workshop which aimed to strengthen the Health Cluster mechanism in the Americas with trained professionals with the required profile to coordinate a multi-partner health response at country level. The workshop identified key health cluster coordinators (HCC) in the region, streamlined the humanitarian reform concept, the health cluster mechanism and its functions, and further expanded the region's HCC roster.
It was designed to provide both, a theoretical and practical approach to understanding the health cluster mechanism. Participants benefitted from in-depth analysis of the cluster approach through sessions and modules including group work and plenary discussions. There was a strong emphasis on solution finding, experience sharing and providing practical guidance on effective coordination.
The Health Cluster works to ensure that Health Cluster lead agency (PAHO/WHO), the Health Cluster Coordinator and partners work together during a humanitarian crisis to achieve the aims of reducing avoidable mortality, morbidity and disability, and restoring the delivery of and equitable access to preventive and curative health care as quickly as possible. The Cluster mechanism was promoted by the UN to improve the international response in case of disaster. This mechanism is constantly being improves and has the advantage of supporting the response system of the Member States. PAHO/WHO considers the cluster to a tool with great potential to attract resources and bring visibility to the health sectors in the countries. It requires coordinators with knowledge of international mechanism and the ability to mobilize Organizations and resources to help affected populations.