Health Cluster report: January–June 2012
Harsh weather and floods, combined with reduced population coverage by health services activates a Health Cluster emergency response, depleting available funds and resources.
Heavy snows, floods and several large-scale disease outbreaks of acute respiratory infections (ARI) in the first four months of 2012 have resulted in the Health Cluster activating 18 mobile and 7 temporary static health teams, run by the Afghanistan Center for Training and Development (ACTD), Afghanistan Health and Development Services, Care of Afghan Families, Emergency, Ibn Sina, Merlin and Service Health Relief Development Organization, with the technical support of WHO.
During the period of reporting, the Health Cluster has covered, with temporary health services, approximately 300 000 communities affected by natural disasters (harsh winter, floods, large-scale outbreaks), the conflict in Helmand Wardak, Logar and Zabul, and the movement of internally-displaced persons (IDPs) and informal settlements (Kabul and Kandahar).
Physical access has remained a major challenge for responding organizations due to insecurity and the difficult terrain, requiring the use of animal transport and outreach activities by foot and helicopter. Teams have conducted an estimated 160 000 curative consultations: 32% for children under five and 58% female consultations. Upwards of 45% of consultations revealed a higher number of ARI cases, 43% higher than the national average during the same period. This further exemplifies the severity of the situation. Approximately 5300 children have been vaccinated against measles in areas affected by outbreaks; this has been part of a broader measles vaccination campaign conducted in Afghanistan.