EHU Page Banner

The Emergency Health Unit will transform the way we deliver frontline emergency healthcare and medical assistance in a crisis setting. Our EHU will take world class teams of nurses and doctors to the heart of a disaster in the critical first stages. They will be fully equipped and ready to treat life threatening illnesses and injuries.

Our team on the ground

The Emergency Health Unit includes teams of specialist staff with the specific expertise and capabilities to deal with a whole range of emergencies. Our teams on the ground consist of:


Oversees the overall operations and quality of the EHU clinic and its staff in every emergency. Ensures that quality and effective emergency care is delivered, with special attention to children, maternal and newborn health needs. 


Manages emergency primary care, mass vaccination campaigns, and/or specific disease outbreaks. Also provides support to midwifery, nutrition and community outreach staff, and works closely with the medical logistician to dispense supplies. Tends to the daily needs of patients in the EHU's care. 


Manages the daily operations of the team, taking responsibility for its management, preparation and deployment. Integrates emergency activities into country programming, and supports early recovery and long-term plans. 


Responsible for providing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene support for treatment facilities and mobile clinics. Ensures the team is prepared for the WASH needs for outbreaks, such as Acute Watery Diarrhea or Cholera. Trains WASH officers, Health promoters, and hygienists on operation and maintenance of WASH facilities, outreach, and disinfection. 


Responsible for getting the right equipment to the right place at the right time, including staff recruitment, orientation and supervision, warehouse management, procurement, transport, storage, and distribution of supplies and material goods necessary to run the EHU. 


Ensures teams have on hand the medical supplies and pharmaceuticals they need for any emergency context. Ensures that quality standards are met for all medicine and medical equipment. 


Responsible for providing advice and health information on breast feeding and nutrition and safe spaces for promotion and protection of breastfeeding infants. Determines and assesses all infants for other Infant and Young Children Feeding (IYCF) programs. Coordinates community outreach and maintains standards/controls. 


Responsible for telling children's stories, attracting the attention of donors and policy makers; communicating stories of impact and support information, education and communication.


Ensures that our programs are addressing mental health needs of children and other survivors in emergency settings. Supports needs assessment, program design and implementation. 


Responsible for assessing the needs and building services to address the sexual and reproductive health needs of survivors.

Where we work

Our teams of experts are strategically pre-positioned in emergency hotspots around the world. They're fully equipped with the best tools – mobile clinics, life-saving medicine and nutrition supplements – to save lives in the first stages of an emergency. In 2016 alone, our staff and partners responded to 129 emergencies in over 60 countries.

Every minute counts

When disaster strikes, the first minutes, hours and days are critical. That's when children's suffering is most intense and most lives are lost. 

In those initial moments, as children and families face the reality of what's happened to them – as time is ticking away – our Emergency Health Unit will be ready to act. This rapid response could be the difference between life and death. Every minute counts.

Below is a guide to how events might unfold in the event of a disaster. Please note, this is a representation of our target timeline. In a typhoon/cyclone, teams could be deployed before the storm makes landfall.

00:00 Team receives call to deploy. Flights booked. Visa requirements checked. Drug supplier, air charter, internal transport, supplies warehouse all alerted.

01:00 Team leader briefs team.

01:30 Packing lists sent to charter companies to prepare aircrafts.

03:00 Flights confirmed. Itinerary proposed for staff. Loading crews on standby.

05:00 Pre-packed staff kit bags collected. 06:00 Supply aircraft loading begins.

12:00 Cash float provided.

13:00 In-country team arranges onward transport and accommodation.

14:00 Team checks in at airport.

18:00 Trucks depart for airport with our pre-positioned emergency supplies.

24:00 Supplies transferred from trucks to waiting aircraft. Team touches down in country.

27:00 Team briefed by in-country staff.

28:00 Onward transport and accommodation provided. Supply aircraft awaits landing permit.

34:00 Landing permit received; departure scheduled.

44:00 Supply aircraft lands in country.

46:00 Team arrives in disaster area within the first 48 hours. Unloading of supplies begins.

56:00 Unloading complete. Transit of supplies to emergency warehouse in disaster zone, with security support.

66:00 Supplies transit complete.

72:00 Fully-equipped team begin direct response reaching affected communities.

How you can help

The key to the Emergency Health Unit's success is collaboration and partnership – and that means you can play a crucial part in this ground-breaking initiative.

We need your support to make the Emergency Health Unit a word-class emergency healthcare and medical assistance service. If you're a medic, paramedic, an engineer or a logistician, or you would like to support this work – we want to hear from you. Register your interest now at

Save the Children delivering aid