Emergency Health Unit

The Emergency Health Unit enables us to deploy world-class health professionals to an injured child's side within 72 hours.

Your support is crucial to keeping Save the Children's Emergency Health Unit responsive to unrest and disasters across the world.

Help us reach more children in emergencies:

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Donations go to the Emergency Health Unit and other emergency work.


The right people, in the right place, ready to act

When disaster strikes, hospitals and clinics serving the health needs of entire regions are often damaged or completely wiped out. This is when emergency medical help is needed most. For every hour that passes, children suffer and die.

On top of this, the need to prevent and contain outbreaks of illnesse like these is enormous, and it's vital that we're there as quickly as possible to contain the spread and protect children from these deadly diseases.

Three principles

Speed: we can deploy our teams in 24 hours and get them on the ground, saving lives and providing relief and life-saving medical support in 72 hours.

Expertise: each team is made up of a combination of health professionals and operational specialists – perfectly positioned and appropriately equipped to provide emergency humanitarian response when it's needed most.

Reach: these teams are stationed strategically in emergency hotspots around the world, in places they're needed most urgently.

Designed for emergencies

The EHU helped provide children like Ani with a yellow fever vaccine.
Children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, like Ani, recieved yellow fever vaccinations from the Emergency Health Unit.

The EHU includes three rapid response modules, specialising in different areas of expert medical care, equipped to respond to the biggest killers of children in an emergency.

Primary health module: we can treat common diseases and malnutrition delivered through mobile and fixed clinics and can also provide water, sanitation and public and reproductive health services.

Mass vaccination module: we can deliver up to 10,000 vaccinations in six weeks.

Disease control module: we can combat outbreaks of diseases such as Cholera. Within each, we can treat up to 500 cases of diarrhoea and set up a treatment centre.

Saving lives in South Sudan

Measles is highly contagious. In developing countries, it can kill one in five people who contract the disease.

There's no specific treatment for it: all that medics can do is isolate the sufferer, give them vitamin A, and hope for the best. However, a safe and cost-effective vaccine does exist. But families in remote areas, in countries with weak health systems, struggle to access it.

In Mayom County, rural northern South Sudan, the infrastructure has been crippled by civil war and no children have received routine vaccinations for over two years. Over the course of just one month, the county was in the grip of an outbreak of measles, and nearly three quarters of the cases were children.

Previously in situations like this, we would have had to spend time pulling together teams of specialists and supplies a delay that costs lives.

But thanks to the Emergency Health Unit, as soon as we heard about the outbreak, our specialised team was mobilised and on the ground vaccinating children in 18 clinics and 24 mobile outreach centres. In just three weeks, we were able to permanently protect 44,447 children against a potentially deadly fate.

Help us reach more children in emergencies:

Donate Now Donate by

Donations go to the Emergency Health Unit and other emergency work.


Updated February 2017.