Health and care

Everyone, everywhere should have access to the health services they need, including during emergencies. Our 191 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reach millions of people every year with a wide range of health and care services, improving health and well-being for all.

Our work

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) supports people’s health throughout their entire lifetime, in emergency and non-emergency settings. Our work spans health promotion, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care.

From ambulance services in Lebanon, hospital care in Japan and social care work in Austria. To handwashing projects in Haiti and maternal health clubs in Nigeria—our work in health and care is incredibly diverse.

What unites our work is that we always tailor health services to local contexts and needs. And because our millions of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are part of the communities they serve, our health work is always community-led.

Growing gaps in health and wellbeing

We have seen major progress in global health and well-being in the past few decades. People are living longer than ever before. The development of new vaccines continues to save countless lives. And maternal and child mortality rates are falling.

But this progress is uneven. Urbanization, emerging infectious diseases, climate change and high numbers of people on the move are all increasing global health risks. In turn, they prevent millions of people from accessing essential health services. And they push 100 million people into extreme poverty due to massive health care costs.

What’s more, 780 million people around the world do not have access to safe water and 2.5 billion people cannot access adequate sanitation.

In the face of these challenges, our Health and Care Framework 2030 below sets out our long-term work to ensure quality health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services for all.

It complements Strategy 2030—the IFRC’s collective plan of action to tackle the major humanitarian and development challenges of this decade.

Related documents

Emergency appeals