Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 178 - 08 to 14 Oct 2007

Report
from World Health Organization
Published on 14 Oct 2007
WEST AFRICA FLOODS

The UN has allocated US $ 3.5 mn emergency response humanitarian assistance to Mali ( $ 1 mn), Ghana ( $ 2.5 mn) and Togo ( $1.4 mn). The grants are from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) created in 2006 by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

In Ghana, the Flash Appeal requests a total amount of US$9,913,136. As Health sector lead, WHO is seeking US$400,000.

In Burkina Faso, a Flash Appeal is under preparation to assist the Government in responding to 93 000 flood-affected people, including 28 000 displaced.

Assessments and Events

As of October 2007, floods have affected around 800 000, displaced over 44 000 and killed approximately 210 people in 14 countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, The Gambia and Togo.

In Niger, the weekly incidence rate of malaria has climbed above average: 353 cases per 100 000 compared to 159 cases at the same week in 2006.

Across the region, the floods have brought unprecedented stress upon the health services just before the meningitis season. This year, this is expected to be especially severe, coinciding with the anticipated peak in the disease's 10-12 year cycle.

Actions

Emergency response efforts by respective governments are being assisted by civil society, local community efforts, inter-governmental agencies and UN agencies. WHO is supporting the appeals for mobilization of funds.

In Burkina Faso, the WHO Country Office has procured non-food items for distribution including tents, mosquito nets and jerry cans. WHO is working with UNICEF in respect of water and sanitation activities and malaria.

In Ghana, WHO, UNICEF, and UNFPA will provide comprehensive health sector support for flood victims in the three Northern regions (Upper East, Upper West, Northern) and parts of Western and Volta Regions.

In Togo, WHO donated to the MoH essential drugs and medical supplies for distribution to flood-affected districts. WHO is also working with the MoH in boosting the capacity for government to respond to increased needs for water borne disease prevention and monitoring measures.

In Mali, WHO donated essential drugs to the MoH.

In Niger, the WHO Country Office is assisting the MoH in the establishment of working groups to address improved treatment, prevention and logistics for the increasing rates of malaria.

So far, WHO's activities have been supported by internal funds, from the Regional Office and Geneva.

SUDAN

Assessments and events:

In Darfur, thousands of civilians were displaced following recent attacks (October 4-8) on the towns of Haskanita and Muhajaria. The deteriorating security in the region will further limit civilian access to health care.

Actions:

High-level discussions/meetings to strengthen cooperation were held in Khartoum and Juba between WHO, the Government of National Unity (GoNU) and the Government of South Sudan (GoSS).

In collaboration with the Federal MoH, WHO conducted a mission in Kutum, North Darfur, to respond to the reported cases of Leishmaniasis cutaneous. A training workshop was conducted for 3 days targeting 35 medical staff.

In east Sudan, WHO supported the SMoH in the establishment of 10 cholera treatment centres by providing essential drugs and NFI logistical support.

In South Darfur, WHO is working on chlorination of water at household level, safe storage of water for domestic use and information campaigns to lower the risk of water borne illness.

In South Kordofan, WHO continues to work in IDP sites in Kuada with the Secretariat of health to provide health education to the population emphasizing hygiene and environmental sanitation for the prevention of AWD.

Contributions for WHO's emergency activities in Sudan were received from ECHO, Ireland, Finland, the CERF and the Common Humanitarian Funds.