Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 235, 17 to 23 Nov 2008

Report
from World Health Organization
Published on 21 Nov 2008
Each week, the World Health Organization Health Action in Crises in Geneva produces information highlights on critical health-related activities in countries where there are 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 operational use and does not reflect any official position of the WHO Secretariat.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

- ADG/HAC will travel to the DRC on 24-28 November.

Assessments and Events

- An estimated 1.5 million people are in need of assistance in North and South Kivu, including about 200 000 IDPs in camps around Goma. Their most urgent needs remain security, safe water, food, shelter, sanitation and health care.

- The CNDP rebels have announced they are withdrawing from two fronts to create humanitarian corridors. However, lack of security and access continue to be the chief constraints to providing assistance to IDPs.

- The weekly number of cholera cases reported in Goma has increased from 20 in August to 150 early November. During the first week of November, 410 cholera cases were recorded, including 117 in Karisimbi health zone, as well as 70 cases of measles.

Actions

- WHO supports health authorities for assessments, disease surveillance, cleaning of IDP sites as well as identification and filling of urgent needs. Further interagency health assessments are planned as soon as security allows.

- The provincial MoH, WHO and UNICEF continue immunization activities. After Kirotshe and Kibati, the polio and measles vaccination campaign will target Masisi. Vitamin A and mebendazole for de-worming are also distributed.

- Under WHO's coordination, the Health Cluster adopted a plan to distribute 10 tons of medicines (144 basic health kits) from Goma to functioning facilities in the following health zones: Karisimbi (18 kits), Rutshuru (8), Kirotshe (18), Mweso (18), Masisi (15), Pinga (40) and Walikale (36). Six kits will remain in Goma. WHO and the provincial health authorities will guarantee free health care for three months and follow-up on the use of medicines and speed up the process of distribution to beneficiaries.

- Eight international and eight national WHO staff members are in Goma for monitoring, coordination and support.

- Italy and Norway provided in-kind contributions valued at more than US$ 1 million and Australia provided Aus$ 500 000. Cash needs now for the next three months are estimated at US$ 2.2 million.

- In Province Orientale, the Dungu and Beni regions, inaccessible from Goma, will receive one and two health kits, respectively, from the WHO Office in Kampala.

- WHO emergency activities in the DRC are funded by Australia, Finland, Italy, Norway, the CERF and the Pooled Fund for the DRC.