Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 177 - 01 to 07 Oct 2007
WEST AFRICA FLOODS
Assessments and Events
Most of the over 600 000 people affected face lack of safe water and sanitation , poor access to health care and food insecurity. In Mauritania for instance, the number of food-insecure people has risen by 16% compared to December 2005. In most of these countries, malaria is the main cause of morbidity and mortality and these exceptional floods will increase the length of transmission period and thus the risk. The risk for waterborne disease is also high: close surveillance and preventive measures are essential. In Niger , the incidence of malaria is above the seasonal average: at week 38, a total of 679 000 cases/ 777 deaths of suspected malaria was notified against 418 543 cases/ 669 deaths at same time in 2006; from January to August 2007, 13 276 cases and 6 deaths were reported due to diarrhoea:al most double of the year 2006 at the same period; 24 cases and 2 deaths due to cholera was reported in July. In Togo, the Togolese Red Cross reports elevated numbers of people suffering from gastroenteritis and malaria. I n Sierra Leone , the MoH reports 523 cases of AWD with 30 deaths in the Kambia district since early September.
- UN agen cies and partners continue coordinating activities and providing support.
- In Mauritania , WHO/AFRO already contributed US$ 20 000 to meet emergency needs including the provision of insecticide-treated bed nets, sanitation supplies, health kits and logistic support - a further US $52 000 is needed.
- In Niger, WHO is providing health facilities in affected areas with drugs and medical supplies against cholera, supporting investigation missions and funding a radio programme for public education.
- In Togo,W HO participated in a IASC field assessment and cautions that the potential for outbreaks of waterborne illnesses is high. WHO has provided essential drugs and medical supplies to the health authorities for distribution.
- In addition, WHO intends to pre-position Interagency Emergency Health Kits and Interagency Diarrhoeal Disease Kits in the Humanitarian Regional Depot in Accra.
- WHO activities so far have been supported by internal funds.
CHAD - CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Assessments and events:
- According to the Secretary-General's latest report on Chad and CAR the humanitarian situation shows no signs of improving. More than 400 000 refugees and IDPs are reported displaced across Chad and CAR as a result of conflict and an estimated 700 000 in host communities of Chad are also affected.
- In the Central African Republic, F I RC reports that over 6000 people have been affected by floods around Bangui. About 40% of them are children, who are now exposed to harsh weather conditions and at increased risk for water and vector borne diseases due to contamination of water sources such as malaria, hepatitis E and typhoid, among others.
- In Chad , WHO investigated an increasing number of cases of cutaneous e l ishmaniasis in Treguine refugee camp. The mission was conducted the Medical Regional Delegation of Ouaddai.in collaboration with the WHO sub office in Abéché.
- WHO is still investigating the outbreak of hepatitis E in Koukou, where 254 cases and three deaths were reported between 27 August and 3 September. The outbreak is associated with poor quality of water, hygiene and sanitation.
- In CAR, the WHO Office in Bangui and Field Office in Bossanga, together with health partners are working to improve the management of obstetrical and neonatal emergency care in the most affected conflict zones. WHO aims to improve the health and nutrition status of children under five and pregnan t women and to n i crease the performance of health services in conflict-affected zones.
- WHO's emergency activities are supported by Italy, ECHO and the CERF in Chad and by Finland and the CERF in CAR.