Guided by Strategy 2020 – our collective plan of action to tackle the major humanitarian and development challenges of this decade – we are committed to increasing the quality and scale of health activities that reduce individual and community vulnerability, strengthening community resilience and addressing health inequities.

Improving equitable access to affordable healthcare, as well as the availability of prevention, treatment, care and support is part of our core mandate. The IFRC is committed to universal coverage in order to address health inequities. Universal access to health constitutes a fundamental human right and is an urgent public health priority.

Health policy

The health policy reaffirms the commitment of the IFRC and its National Societies  to carry out health activities for the most vulnerable, through voluntary service. These include- but are not limited to- promoting community health and disease prevention, providing psychosocial support, primary health care, maternal, newborn and child health and water, sanitation and hygiene promotion. The policy also reaffirms health as a central component of disaster management.

This policy builds on the experience of working with vulnerable communities throughout the world and recognizes the increasing need to strengthen the capacity of communities to promote health, prevent disease outbreaks and public health emergencies and to respond to the challenges of both communicable and noncommunicable disease.

The health policy was adopted by the 15th Session of the General Assembly of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in November 2005. The policy can be found here.

First aid policy

Millions of people are hurt or killed by injuries every year due to inadequate response or lack of timely assistance. First aid is by no means a replacement for emergency services, but it is a vital initial step in providing effective and swift action that helps reduce serious injuries and improve the chances of survival. Taking immediate action and applying the appropriate techniques, while waiting for professional help, can considerably reduce both deaths, injuries and their impact during disasters and everyday emergencies.

The IFRC is the world’s leading first aid provider. For more than 100 years, first aid has been one of the principal services provided by Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers to injured people. We believe that first aid is an essential part of building safer, more resilient communities, which in turn are best placed to increase the impact of disaster preparedness and to reduce exposure to health hazards.

The first aid policy was adopted by the Governing Board meeting on 5 October 2007 in Geneva. The policy can be found here.