IASC MHPSS Reference Group Haiti Emergency Conference Call (PDF)

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                          IASC MHPSS Reference Group
                Haiti Emergency Conference Call – Minutes of Meeting
                                Held on Thursday, 20th January 2010

Call attendees: Nancy Baron (Consultant), Amanda Melville (UNICEF), Sabine Rakotomalala (UNICEF),
Kathy Angi (ACT International), Lene Christensen (IFRC), Alison Schafer (World Vision), Martha Bragin
(CARE), Lynne Jones (IMC), Guglielmo Schinna (IOM), Cecile Bizouerne (ACF), Mark van Ommeren
(WHO), Tonka Eibs (CARE) Devora Krestel (WHO), Relinde Reiffers (War Trauma Foundation), Else
Berglund (ACT International), Jack Saul (Columbia University, International Trauma Studies Program),
Gary Belkin (New York University School of Medicine), Pau Perez (MdM), Aurora (UNICEF).

Agenda Items:
   1. MHPSS Coordination Options
   2. Matrix for overview of MHPSS activities
   3. Endorsement of key messages/guidance notes
   4. Interagency Training
   5. Who should be participating on these calls
   6. Staff Care
   7. AOB

MHPSS Coordination Options
  • SHORT TERM (next 10 days) - Confirmation that Amanda will go to Haiti from 26 Jan. She will
     receive coordination support from Devora (WHO) and Julie (ACF). Meanwhile, long-term options
     for a MHPSS coordinator (at least 6-months) will be explored.
  • Confirmed that key skills required for the long term coordination will be availability for a minimum
     6-month deployment, fluent in French and while psychosocial skills are needed, experience and
     expertise in this level of coordination will be vital.
  • UNICEF has explored availability of coordinators for Ruth O’Connell, but she is not available until
     April. Marie de la Soudiere was also a possibility, but she is likely to be utilised by UNICEF for
  • Organisations that have other long term coordinator prospects include: MdM, IOM, WHO & ACT.
  • Action: Pau, Guilli, Kathy & Devora are to send Amanda details of the people they are considering
     for the long term coordination post.
  • Action: Amanda and the four agencies with long-term coordinator possibilities will coordinate and
     communicate amongst themselves to try and establish the best person available.
  • Action: Amanda to arrange for a ToR for the long term coordinator position to be drawn up and
     endorsement from the group will be sought.
  • Noted that CARE may also have a possible long-term contact, but this needs to be further explored.
     Tonka will communicate directly with Amanda on this if necessary.

Other notes regarding coordination:
   • Noted that about 12 months ago, the Health Cluster did an evaluation in Haiti before the emergency
       on the existing cluster system. The main criticism of the system was that there were too many
       parallel coordination groups. For MHPSS, if we are going to undertake coordination, it must be
       designed horizontally within the existing cluster systems.
   • Noted that MHPSS is mentioned in health and protection and education clusters. Concerns exist
       about this possibly being too much cross-coordination, and there may be a push for a single task
   • In North America and in other regions, teams of Haitian professionals are being trained in readiness
       for possible support to the Haiti response. Those involved in these activities should connect with
       Devora, Gary, Jack Saul or Martha Bragin to discuss further. Alison to put these people in touch
       with each other so discussions about how to coordinate these efforts can be pursued.

    •   Coordination for MHPSS focal points amongst other sectoral clusters
    •   The following focal points for other clusters have been suggested. Could organisations please
        confirm with Alison, Amanda and Sabine if they agree to provide focal points in these cluster
            o   Health – WHO & IMC
            o   Protection – UNCIEF
            o   Nutrition – ACF & IMC
            o   Watsan – ACF OK for the beginning, but would be hopeful to hand over this when more
                people are on the ground
            o   Shelter/NFI/Camp Management – IOM & possibly IFRC to the extent they can
            o   Logistic & Security – still to be confirmed
            o   Education - still to be confirmed (either Plan, UNICEF, UNESCO & SAVE)

Matrix for overview of MHPSS activities
   • There is no longer time for phone updates of what each individual organisation is doing as part of
       their MHPSS response in the field. Therefore a matrix has been established on the
       psychosocialnetwork for everyone to update regularly. It is based on the 4Ws tool, which will
       eventually be used as the mapping tool in the field.
   • ACTION FOR EVERYONE - Please update activities on the online coordination matrix on the – who is going to Haiti and what you’re organisations are doing. VITAL.
   • If you have problems with the psychosocialnetwork, please email Sabine to follow up with the site
   • Note: components of the matrix have been set and cannot be changed at the present time. It was
       suggested to break out staff that is agency employed or local. The co-chairs and designers of the tool
       will consider this request, though it may remain ‘standard’ for now.
   • Noted that Lynne will be arriving in DR on Tuesday with a French psychiatrist. Action: IMC to
       update matrix on the psychosocialnetwork, along with anyone else who will be working at the
       psychiatric level of intervention.

Endorsement of key messages/guidance notes
   • ACTION FOR EVERYONE - This document will be distributed widely both globally and on the
      ground so it is a very important document. Please make your suggestions or changes and forward
      them to – the co-chairs – Alison, Amanda & Sabine as well as Lene Chrsitensen ( no
      later than Thursday morning – 10am Geneva time/7am New York time.
   • Lene will assist in redrafting any comments received today. Alison to forward the information
      already received prior to this meeting (from Nancy & Gary)
   • All changes will be incorporated and then sent around to the group seeking their endorsement.
   • Meanwhile, some general suggestions on the guidance notes included:
           o Aim to make it a maximum of 5-pages.
           o Prefer to call the group a working group instead of a coordination group. Especially needs
               to be changed in the “Coordination” section
           o Not strong enough on treatment of dead bodies.
           o Supply of psychotropic meds on the ground are not being provided and should be mentioned
               in the document
           o Credible information and access to basic needs, security and information needs to be
               strengthened and highlighted earlier in the document.
           o Try to summarise the key messages of the document into a single summary paragraph on the
               front page
           o Convert the ‘tense’ of the document to the present tense
           o Suggested that the document be more concise, spending less time on reiterating/summarising
               the guidelines itself and emphasise the pyramid more and encourage people to consider
               where they are providing services in relation to the intervention pyramid
           o Need to include something about self/staff care

    •   It was asked if we can include information from WHO (Devora and Mark) - a simple 1-2 pager -
        about what MHPSS services existed in Haiti prior to the emergency? Agreed that this might take too
        long to bring together for the current document, but any information like this sought by agencies
        could communicate directly with WHO. If the information is available, it would be helpful to be
        included onto he psychosocialnetwork. Pau will contact WHO about this.
    •   FYI – there was a document by on the situation in Haiti about 12 months. This has been posted to
        the psychosocialnetwork.
Interagency Training

   •   Two issues being considered. Coordination of training pre-deployment + coordination of training in
   •   Agreed that training on the ground will be difficult at the moment, but encouraged to support ‘short
       informal trainings’ in the field.
   •   Agreed that where possible it would be helpful if people could use the orientation seminars to be
       training sectoral responders. These orientation seminars will shortly be available in French
   •   Action: Longer term options of interagency training to be considered. Nancy will lead a group -
       Jack Saul (Columbia University), Gary Balkin (NYU), Martha Bragin (CARE), Kathy (ACT), Tonka
       Eibs (CARE) & Marie de la Soudiere – to consider a strategy for this and circulate something by
       Friday, 22nd January.
Who should be participating on these calls?
  • There are challenges to this as it’s important we have a mechanism for including new voices and
      inputs, but also need to maintain the criterion of the reference group.
  • Agreed that the co-chairs would consider this more fully and come back to the reference group with
      a proposition.

Staff Care
    • Most organisations working in the field have recognised the urgent need for staff care programs. It
       would be helpful if these could be coordinated so resources and support services can be shared
       amongst the agencies.
    • Action: All people working on staff care are to include this in their organisational activities when
       they complete the matrix on the network
    • Action: CARE to forward details of the rumoured staff care coordination mechanism already set up –
       to be confirmed
    • Action: Amanda to seek out details of UN staff care initiatives
    • Noted that IFRC brochures on the psychosocialnetwork for download directly related to staff care
       issues. Creole translations are in the process and will be uploaded to the site when available
    • Action: Nancy and team to consider what staff care options should also be included in
       training/orientation activities being planned

  •    Re: psychotropic medication - Lyn, Devora and Pau. Please send your information, reports and
       concerns to Mark at WHO about the needs and concerns on this. Noted that Devora has sent a
       request to colleagues about medication being included in supplies but is still awaiting further
   •   A psychological first aid guide pilot is being piloted within WV. Alison to forward details of this
       pilot to Nancy as basic PFA principles may be used in training.
   •   If we have burning issues about how aid is being coordinated or distributed (e.g. food aid, wash,
       disposal of dead bodies), we can forward these concerns to the global managers. If you wish these
       issues to be raised, email the co-chairs (Amanda, Alison & Sabine) so they can follow through)
   •   Availability of hard copies of the guidelines for the field is a lacking. UNICEF have some French
       versions to take to Haiti. TdH also have copies in HQ. We will look into fast-tracking the printing
       of the short version of the French translation and updating the group on how to access the full
       guidelines in printed form (French and/or English). Alison to work on this attempting to fast track
       the processes.

Next Call: On Monday or Tuesday next week (with or without Amanda).