Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire, Abidjan: health situation becomes alarming

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Intense fighting of previous days has further deteriorated the already limited access to health care for the population of Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire's biggest city.

'Most health facilities are closed while those still operating are understaffed and face critical shortage of medical supplies' says Dr. Mamadou Ball, WHO Representative in Cote d'Ivoire.

The shortage of medical supplies and lack of salary payments for health workers has brought the health system close to a halt even before last week's conflict escalation.

Fighting and snipers prevent residents reaching health facilities and the shortage of drinking water could cause cholera to return to the city.

Lack of food is also becoming a serious risk as any cases of malnutrition could not be treated. Dead bodies are seen along the streets and packs of dogs are roaming the town.

Health partners active in Abidjan have great difficulties in accessing the wounded and sick. Security remains the main condition for coordinated action.

'As soon as security allows, we will distribute kits for treatment of trauma injuries, malaria and infectious diseases' adds Dr. Ball. 'Additional supplies are being brought from Burkina Faso to the north of the country to support the assistance to thousands of displaced persons that left Abidjan'.

Ensuring regular medical supplies and providing financial support to health workers are key actions that will be considered in the coming weeks.

For more information: Tarik Jasarevic Media and Advocacy Officer Health Action in Crises WHO, Geneva Telephone: +41 791 472 756 Email: jasarevict@who.int