CAR + 9 more

Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 162 - 18 to 25 Jun 2007


Each week, the World Health Organization Health Action in Crises in Geneva produces information highlights on the health aspects of selected humanitarian crises. Drawing on the various WHO programmes, contributions cover activities from field and country offices and the support provided by WHO regional offices and Headquarters. The mandate of the WHO Departments specifically concerned with Emergency and Humanitarian Action in Crises is to increase the effectiveness of the WHO contribution to crisis preparedness and response, transition and recovery. This note, which is not exhaustive, is designed for internal use and does not reflect any official position of the WHO Secretariat.


Assessments and events:

The number of cases of hepatitis E in the eastern IDPs camps, mainly Koloma and Gouroukoun, continues to be increasing. The reported number of cases grew from 43 and no deaths last week to 55 cases and one death this week bringing the total number of cases to 563 with eight deaths. The increasing incidence of hepatitis E and the coming rainy season are extremely concerning as it indicates great risk for outbreak of other oral faecal disease such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid.

All nine samples sent from Goz Beida to the laboratory at Val de Grace Hospital in Paris were confirmed positive for hepatitis E.

In the past two weeks, increasing violence around Goz Beida and insecurity (attacks and carjacking on AU Headquarters and MSF vehicles) around Abeche are hampering humanitarian efforts.

The strike of the country's civil servants, including government-run hospitals and clinics has been ongoing for seven weeks.

A visit to refugee camps in Eastern Chad by the Foreign Minister of France on 9 June was followed by high level political discussions and airlifts of humanitarian supplies by the French Military to Goz Beida.


WHO and the MoH have revised an eight point response plan to the hepatitis E outbreaks, highlighting reinforcement of sanitation practices and education, ensuring access to clean water and continuation of surveillance and support activities.

Two interagency missions where undertaken to Goz Beida: the first on 18 June to assess nutritional status and the second on 19 June to provide supervision and continued surveillance of the hepatitis E epidemic.

Two trainings took place during the past week. The first was a training organized in cooperation with the International Medical Corps and dealt with blood safety. The second, in Abéché, was on TB case management.

WHO continues coordinating health activities with partners on the ground.

Emergency activities are supported by ECHO, Italy and the CERF.


Assessments and events:

In West Darfur, reports of increased violence in Sirba area, near the border with Chad, have raised concerns of further population displacement and insecurity. UNDSS has recommended suspension of all activities.

In South Darfur, WHO is monitoring the situation in Yassin following the report of 33 cases of suspected measles; more than 100 have been reported over the past few months. Cases of acute jaundice have also increased in Abusalala (25 cases) and Al Salam camp (60 cases).

Between 1 January and 18 May, the Federal MoH reported 1898 suspected cases of meningitis and 106 deaths from 13 out of 15 states of northern Sudan. Several districts still exceed the epidemic threshold.

In southern Sudan, the meningitis outbreak is almost over. Between 1 January and 20 May, 11 894 cases and 668 deaths were reported. During the same period, 8101 cases of AWD and 355 deaths were reported.


In Darfur, rehabilitation of health facilities and access to hospital care for IDPs remain important aspects of WHO's work.

In South Darfur, the State MoH and WHO conducted an investigation of Yassin to collect samples and ensure that appropriate case management is provided. Cases of jaundice are being discussed with concerned partners to strengthen environmental interventions. WHO is supporting the State MoH in preparing a training on AWD case definition and case management in Al Daen and Adilla.

In response to the meningitis outbreak in northern Sudan, the Federal MoH conducted field investigations, standardized case management, provided health education and strengthened surveillance.

In southern Sudan, WHO, the MoH/GoSS, and other agencies are working to strengthen regional and local health services, help them cope with the increasing numbers of returnees and prevent a public health crisis.

In 2007, contributions for WHO's emergency activities were received from ECHO, Ireland, Finland, the CERF and the Common Humanitarian Fund.