Resources and Tools

Tools and resources for emergency responders, including risk communication, assessment, and evaluation.

Guidance for CDC Staff for the Establishment and Management of Public Health Rapid Response Teams for Disease Outbreaks

Countries face challenges as they work to develop and establish their emergency response capacity within global efforts like the Global Health Security Agenda and voluntary Joint External Evaluations.

This document provides general guidance to develop and manage a multidisciplinary rapid response team (RRT) for outbreak response. It highlights the extensive processes needed to set up and maintain a functional, trained, and ready-to-deploy RRT workforce that maximizes public health response efficiency and effectiveness.

Read Guidance for U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Staff for the Establishment and Management of Public Health Rapid Response Teams for Disease Outbreaks [PDF – 3 MB].

Also available in:  Spanish [PDF – 4 MB], French [PDF – 7 MB], Portuguese [PDF – 7 MB], Russian [PDF – 7 MB] and Arabic [PDF – 3 MB].

Nutritional Care for Patients with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
French poster showing Ebola symptoms and ways to avoid catching the virus outside of a Ministry of Health building in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: Dante Bugli, ERRB

After the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) introduced temporary patient nutrition support guidelines. This investigation uses earlier research to review health care provider and patient experiences as well as their perceptions of care. This report highlights the importance of consistent nutrition care guidelines for patients in Ebola treatment units.

Read the report: Nutritional Care for Patients with Ebola Virus Disease in Ebola Treatment Units: Past and Current Experiences [2.5MB, 28 Pages].

Top Right: French poster showing Ebola prevention methods and symptoms on a Ministry of Health building in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: Dante Bugli, ERRB

Assessment and Evaluation in Humanitarian Emergencies

The Multi-Sector Initial Rapid Assessment Guidance (MIRA)
The MIRA is a joint needs assessment tool that can be used in sudden onset emergencies, including Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) System-Wide Level 3 Emergency Responses (L3 Responses)

Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions (SMART)
SMART is an inter-agency initiative launched in 2002 by a network of organizations and humanitarian practitioners. SMART advocates a multi-partner, systematized approach to provide critical, reliable information for decision-making, and to establish shared systems and resources for host government partners and humanitarian organizations.

The SMART Methodology is an improved survey method that balances simplicity (for rapid assessment of acute emergencies) and technical soundness. It draws from the core elements of several methodologies with continuous upgrading informed by research and current best practices.

Humanitarian Emergency Settings Perceived Needs Scale (HESPER)
The HESPER Scale aims to provide a method for assessing perceived needs in representative samples of populations affected by large-scale humanitarian emergencies in a valid and reliable manner. This manual includes the HESPER Scale (see Appendix 1), as well as a detailed explanation of how to use the HESPER Scale, how to train interviewers, and how to organize, analyze and report on a HESPER survey.

Profiling and Assessment Resource Kit (PARK)
This online database makes it easy to access and share documents, presentations, tools and guidelines on profiling and assessment activities. It aims to offer a helping hand to both operational decision-makers and implementation teams by providing access to a range of information about what, when and how to successfully embark on a profiling or assessment activity.

The website contains easily accessible and practical tools that serve to improve planning, implementation, and dissemination of information that articulates the needs of displacement-affected populations.

Emergency Information Management Toolkit- Emergency Needs Assessment
This Toolkit offers information and data management guidance for emergency situations, and also provides a set of practical tools for use by anyone responding to the first phase of a refugee emergency.

Health Information System (HIS) Evaluation
This checklist is a simple tool designed to help UNHCR and its partners to evaluate the performance of their Health Information System (HIS). It does this by offering a series of questions which need to be answered. The questions are based on existing good practice and are designed to assist organizations to think through how their HIS is working.


Communication in Emergencies

Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) Training
The Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) program offers in-person and online trainings for CERC Basic and CERC Pandemic Influenza materials. Public information officers, public health responders, leaders, and others who may communicate in local, state, and national responses participate in trainings to learn about the CERC principles and best practices for communicating in an emergency. The training program is based on the CERC manuals and draws from lessons learned during public health emergencies incorporating practices from the fields of risk and crisis communication.

Behavior Change Communication in Emergencies (Toolkit)
This toolkit is a resource for everyone working in emergency situations caused by natural disasters. It is designed to help program managers from UNICEF, UN agencies, NGO partners and government personnel to prepare, plan, implement and monitor behavior change communication initiatives supporting health, hygiene and child protection efforts in emergencies.

Social and Behavior Change Communication Implementation Tools
The Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) is designed to strengthen the capacity of organizations to design, implement and measure their own social and behavior change communication (SBCC) programs. To accomplish this goal, HC3 developed Springboard Health Communication, the Health COMPass, SBCC Implementation Kits and a series of webinars. In addition, you can find HC3’s own project materials as well as a list of SBCC courses to take online.

Communication for Development (C4D) in Humanitarian Settings
C4D involves understanding people, their beliefs and values, the social and cultural norms that shape their lives. It involves engaging communities and listening to adults and children as they identify problems, propose solutions and act upon them. Communication for development is seen as a two-way process for sharing ideas and knowledge using a range of communication tools and approaches that empower individuals and communities to take actions to improve their lives.


Epi Info/ENA Software

Providing valid and relevant data in humanitarian emergencies is critical to planning appropriate interventions and ultimately saving lives.

Nutrition and mortality surveys are major tools for obtaining objective and valid epidemiological data.

The purpose of Epi Info/ ENA software is to make analysis of nutrition and mortality data collected in field surveys as easy and reliable as possible.

This user-friendly software will allow for:

  • better survey design and planning,
  • easier and more reliable data entry,
  • standardized and technically correct analysis, and
  • valid and useful outputs for public health decision making.

By combining Epi Info and ENA for SMART, we have created one software package that allows you to:

  • program data entry forms,
  • generate anthropometric scores using both WHO and NCHS growth standards,
  • produce automated analyses of key mortality and nutrition indicators,
  • conduct automated plausibility and data quality checks, and
  • generate reports that include results of these automated analyses.


  1. Download and install the latest version of Epi Info.
  2. Follow installation instructions from the website.
  3. Make sure to install Epi Info in default location, C:Epi_Info
  4. Download and save the following 2 files (updated August 19, 2011):

Run each file to install programs that analyze anthropometry and mortality data. When you install these 2 programs 2 new shortcuts will be created on your desktop and 2 new folders (ena and mortality) will appear in C:Epi_Info folder. Click on the shortcuts on your desktop to start using the programs.



Probability Calculators

Tools for interpreting results of field surveys

Field practitioners in humanitarian settings often face challenges analyzing and interpreting the results of nutrition surveys. The key goal when analyzing and interpreting survey data is often to infer how high or low the true population prevalence is likely to be, and how likely is it to exceed the pre-determined action thresholds (e.g., 5%, 10%, 15% for GAM; 20% and 40% for anemia; etc.) To provide additional information for decision-making, we developed a “threshold” probability calculator that provides the estimated probability of the true population prevalence exceeding the threshold.

Another challenge for field practitioners is presented when the situation requires assessing significance of the difference between two survey results. For example, consider testing the difference between the surveys conducted in the same area in 2 different seasons or in 2 different years; or testing the differences between the results obtained from the surveys in 2 neighboring districts or livelihood zones. To assist field practitioners in these situations, we developed a “two-survey” calculator for testing the statistical significance of the difference between the estimates from 2 surveys (or from 2 strata of the same survey).

These calculators can be used for any categorical variable for which results are expressed as a proportion (or percentage) of the total – for example, for prevalence of anemia, immunization coverage, stunting, wasting, etc. The threshold levels in the “threshold” calculator can be changed as necessary for a given indicator. For example, it is possible to test what is the probability that measles immunization coverage exceeds a minimum acceptable level, or whether anemia prevalence exceeds programmatic action threshold that calls for blanket iron supplementation, etc.

We wanted to emphasize that analyses performed by these calculators can also be performed using any common statistical software, like SPSS, SAS or STATA. We propose them solely for their convenience, realizing that field practitioners often do not have advanced skills in data management and analysis, or do not have access to statistical software that require expensive licensing rights.

We look forward to a feedback from field practitioners on the use of these tools. Please send your questions, comments or suggestions to Dr. Oleg Bilukha:

Download Files


Additional Tools & Resources

Surveillance in Humanitarian Emergencies
WHO Guidelines for EWARN Implementation
World Health Organization’s guidelines on early warning alert and response network (EWARN)

Sphere Training
The Sphere Project is a voluntary initiative that brings a wide range of humanitarian agencies together around a common aim – to improve the quality of humanitarian assistance and the accountability of humanitarian actors to their constituents, donors and affected populations.

The Sphere Handbook, Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response, is one of the most widely known and internationally recognized sets of common principles and universal minimum standards in life-saving areas of humanitarian response.

Emergency Response and Recovery infographics

Monitoring & Evaluation Tool for Tuberculosis
A free, easy-to-use monitoring and evaluation (M&E) tool for TB programs in refugee camps, resource-poor and other post-conflict settings.

Reports from Haiti
Progress Toward Rebuilding Haiti’s Health System [2.6 MB, 36 Pages]