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Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response

Essential health services – non-communicable diseases standard 1: Non-communicable diseases

People have access to essential therapies to reduce morbidity and mortality due to acute complications or exacerbation of their chronic health condition.

Key actions (to be read in conjunction with the guidance note)

Key indicators (to be read in conjunction with the guidance note)

Guidance note

  1. Non-communicable diseases include heart disease, stroke, hypertension, chronic renal failure, bronchial asthma, dialysis-dependent chronic renal failure, insulin-dependent diabetes and epilepsy. During emergencies, individuals with chronic medical conditions are particularly vulnerable to exacerbations of their condition or to complications such as secondary infections and are at risk when treatment is interrupted. Clinical stabilisation and maintenance of therapy should be the mainstay of the health-sector response in humanitarian settings.

People with NCDs need long-term medication and follow-up. The routine, ongoing management of NCDs should be available through the primary healthcare system, using medications from the essential medicines list. But it is generally not recommended to introduce new therapeutic regimens or programmes for the management of chronic health conditions during the relief effort especially if the regimen or programme is unlikely to be continued after the emergency phase.