2.5. Roles and responsibilities

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roles responsabilidadesThe training to implement the plan should clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each member of the health team. “Action cards” supplied to each member should clearly and simply describe the actions that he or she is to carry out, the information to be obtained, and the chain of command the person need to follow, as well as important telephone numbers for immediate contact.

Key elements in the description of roles and responsibilities:

  • The health sector’s disaster coordinator: The national coordinator, along with his/her technical team, is responsible for developing and updating the plan. This person also directs implementation. His/her management, coordination, and evaluation functions involved should be well defined. Knowledge of the plan and respect for competencies of other disciplines and actors is essential for the effective use of the sector’s resources.
  • The health sector's coordinator: should be placed at the highest level of the ministry of health’s organizational structure to facilitate access to senior decision-making levels and to ensure the support of a multidisciplinary technical team.
  • Rapid response teams: Both action and coordination roles should be very clearly defined. It is critically important in the preparedness phase that every member of the team has clearly defined responsibilities.
  • Roles of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and situation room: These constitute the center for operations and decision-making. Their operating procedures should be well specific and always up-to-date.
  • Technical and support units: Specific descriptions of these units’ actions, and clearly defined levels of coordination and chain of command, prevent conflicts between roles and avoid duplication of activities.
  • Intermediate operational command centers operating at the regional and local levels: The roles involved in horizontal and vertical coordination must be defined, as well as the flow of information and decision-making authority.