Moving from the 'Why' to the 'How': Reflections on Humanitarian Response in urban settings
AffiliationMédecins Sans Frontières, Operational Centre Barcelona-Athens, Barcelona, Spain. Elena.LUCCHI@barcelona.msf.org
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AbstractGiven the rising numbers of crises in urban settings, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is currently shifting its focus from 'why' it should intervene to 'how' it should intervene effectively in these contexts. Beyond communities affected by natural disasters and epidemics, MSF has chosen to target populations in urban settings that are affected by violence or by marginalisation and neglect: these groups appear to suffer the greatest number of severe threats to their health and well-being. Recent reflection within MSF has identified a number of key operational challenges to confront in order to respond efficiently to the needs of these populations. These include: appropriate assessments; measurable indicators of vulnerability and impact; pertinent operational approaches and medical strategies; adapted security management; and responsible closure of activities. This paper summarises the main lessons learned from working in urban settings with the principal aim of mutual sharing and understanding.