Community health

Everyone, everywhere has the right to good health. Within their communities, our millions of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are working hard to promote good health, prevent disease, and reduce suffering.

Through our community health work, the IFRC and our 192 National Societies are closing the gap in global health care service delivery and contributing to the universal health coverage agenda.

As members of the communities they serve, our volunteers and staff are uniquely placed to understand and respond to community health needs, risks and inequalities. Their permanent presence means they are trusted by the people they support and can promote healthy communities before, during and after crises.

Crucially, we work to improve the health, wellbeing and resilience of communities and individuals throughout their entire lifetime—from maternal and child health projects right through to supporting healthy ageing.

Explore community health topics

Schoolchildren in Funafuti, Tuvalu take part in a first aid training session at their school and hold up posters showing what they have learned

First aid

The IFRC and our 192 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are the world’s leading providers and trainers of first aid. Every year, we train over 20 million people in first aid—empowering them with the skills to save lives—and provide first aid services to over 46 million people. 

Ugandan Red Cross volunteers speak to a family from South Sudan seeking refuge in Dzaipi Refugee Camp, Uganda

Care in Communities

Through our Care in Communities programme, we’re training community-based health workers and volunteers to deliver essential community health services. In doing so, we are addressing the global shortage of health care workers and contributing to the universal health coverage (UHC) agenda.

An older woman in Gyongi province, Seoul smiles as she laughs and jokes with a Korean Red Cross volunteer helping her with her laundry

Healthy ageing

Older people remain one of the most vulnerable and excluded groups in countries around the world. Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies run many programmes and services for older people that promote healthy ageing and protect their dignity.

Volunteers with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent visit children who have been diagnosed with cancer at Aleppo University Hospital to boost their morale and hand out gifts during the month of ramadan

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)

Four types of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) account for over two thirds of all deaths globally. Yet these illnesses are largely preventable. The IFRC, with the support of our partners, is addressing NCDs at the community, national, and global level.

An Australian Red Cross Volunteer hugs and provides psychosocial support to a man who lost his home during the bushfires in Victoria, Australia in December 2019

Mental health and psychosocial support

Every year, disasters and emergencies take an immense toll not only on people’s physical health, but on their mental health too. Addressing global mental health and psychosocial needs is a vital part of our work supporting healthy communities.

A volunteer with the Nepal Red Cross visits a new mother in Kaule, Nepal, an area heavily affected by the 2015 earthquake, to accompany her and her 5-month-old son to an immunisation appointment

Immunization

Life course immunization is the foundation of healthy communities. Working in some of the world’s most challenging environments, the IFRC supports our 192 National Societies to reach vulnerable and isolated communities with life-saving vaccines.

Young Russian Red Cross volunteers with Belorechensk branch run an information session at a local technical college about HIV as part of an anti-discrimination campaign

Drug disorders

The IFRC network provides strong advocacy, prevention, treatment and care services for people who use drugs. Our aim is to help National Societies better support people with drug disorders, with a focus on harm reduction and tackling stigma and social exclusion.

A Mozambique Red Cross volunteer goes door to door in Praia Nova to speak to families about how to protect themselves from malaria

Malaria

Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease transmitted by mosquitoes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria kills more than 400,000 people every year. Pregnant women and children are at highest risk, with an estimated two thirds of malaria deaths among children under the age of five.

A young girl in Nepal receives a measles vaccine from the Nepal Red Cross in Kathmandu as part of a country-wide measles immunization campaign in 2008 targeting 4 million children aged 9 months to 5 years old

Communicable diseases

Communicable diseases are diseases that spread from person to person or from animals to humans. Learn about various communicable diseasessuch as HIV and tuberculosisand about what the IFRC and our National Societies do to keep communities around the world healthy.

Ukrainian Red Cross volunteers donate blood during the COVID-19 pandemic

Blood donation

The IFRC and our 192 National Societies play an important role in delivering and promoting safe and sustainable blood programmes around the world.