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Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 282, 23 Nov - 06 Dec 2009

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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.

PAKISTAN

For more information see the latest Health Cluster bulletin and the WHO Office in Pakistan web site.

Assessments and Events

- As of 27 November, OCHA reported approximately 428 000 IDPs from South Waziristan registered in Dera Ismail Khan and Tank Districts. In the NWFP*, an estimated 1 million people are still displaced from the Swat Valley.

- In Swat District, an assessment by the Department of Health, WHO, UNICEF, Merlin, International Medical Corps, Save the Children and the American Refugee Committee focused on gap between health needs and health service provision. Among several concerns highlighted were:

- The lack of female medical staff puts in jeopardy the delivery of maternal, neonatal, child and reproductive health and family planning services in primary health care (PHC) facilities and hospitals.

- The delivery of essential drugs and equipment is lagging is there are currently not enough supplies to cover needs in primary and secondary health care facilities.

- The referral system and the capacities for emergency obstetric and trauma care need to be strengthened.

- Between 16 and 23 November, 346 health facilities reported 103 856 consultations to the disease early warning system (DEWS) network. Of these, 644 were visits for antenatal care, 545 for chronic non-communicable diseases and 218 for injuries. A quarter of the consultations concerned children under five. Acute respiratory tract infections (31%) and acute diarrhoea (8%) remain the main reported conditions. Health facilities in Jalozai and Jalala IDP camps reported a high number of consultations for scabies. Intensive hygiene promotion and water and sanitation interventions were recommended in these camps.

- According to Merlin, One in seven IDPs originating from South Waziristan suffering from acute malnutrition. Again acute respiratory tract infections and acute diarrhoea are the main threat to health.

Actions

- WHO delivered essential medicines and life-saving drugs for 36 000 persons for one month to Mardan District and for 30 000 persons to Swat and Swabi Districts. Over the last six months, WHO has provided essential medicines for 1.9 million people in NWFP.

- WHO trained 55 health staff from the Mardan Department of Health on the DEWS network, covering case definition, data compilation, alert and response, acute watery diarrhoea case management as well as early detection and preventive measures for H1N1 Influenza.

- As of 23 November, the Health Cluster had received 46% of the US$ 42 million requested in the revised UN Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan.

- WHO and partners have received funds from the USA, Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Norway, Saudi Arabia, DFID, ECHO and the CERF.

* NWFP: North West Frontier Province, including Swat, and FATA: Federally Administered Tribal Areas, including Mohmand, Bajaur, and South Waziristan.