DR Congo + 7 more

Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 236, 24 - 30 Nov 2008

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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 WH- programmes, contributions cover activities from field and country offices and the support provided by WH- regional offices and headquarters. The mandate of the WH- departments specifically concerned with Emergency and Humanitarian Action in Crises is t- increase the effectiveness of the WH- contribution t- 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 WH- Secretariat.

ZIMBABWE

- The CAP 2009 for Zimbabwe is requesting US$ 550 million, including 45.4 million for the health sector.

- The South African MoH confirmed 162 cholera cases and three deaths in Musina. Cases are als- reported Botswana. South Africa has pledged it would assist WH- in responding t- the outbreak.

- IRIN reported that the Matabeleland North provincial medical director confirmed 2 deaths from anthrax.

Assessments and Events

- Public health is threatened by communicable diseases and high HIV/AIDS prevalence (15.6%), while poverty and food insecurity increase daily.

- The collapse of the health system, compounded by high inflation, affects the delivery of all health services. Disease surveillance, routine immunization, antenatal care and chronic disease treatment are reaching a standstill. Reduced supply of antiretroviral medicines jeopardizes ARVs dispensation and leaves many patients without treatment.

- As of 27 November, cholera had infected 9463 people and killed 389, with a case fatality rate between 3 and 80%. Poor water and sanitation conditions are making it hard to contain the outbreak and the upcoming rainy season is expected to exacerbate the situation and further raise the number of cases.

Actions

- The Health and WASH Clusters are coordinating the cholera response. WHO and health partners are responding to new outbreaks (in Mutare, Chimanimani, Guruve, Concession, Chiredzi, Mwenzie, Kwekwe, Gutu, Chivi, Bikita, Zvimba) and supporting treatment centres in 26 districts.

- Health Cluster partners have agreed on a comprehensive cholera response plan, that addresses gaps in detection, assessment, organization of response, case management, surveillance and public information.

- WHO is procuring medicines and supplies for 800 severe cases or 3200 moderate cases. The supplies should cover the needs of 30 cholera treatment centres for one month. WHO is also deploying a full outbreak investigation and response team with an epidemiologist, a logistician and a WATSAN specialist.

- WHO has mobilized three data managers from its inter-country team to produce a daily map indicating attack rates and case fatality ratios district by district.

- In the CAP 2009, WHO is requesting US$ 3.1 million to strengthen outbreak response and support coordination, disease surveillance and health information management in general.

- WHO is further requesting US$ 790 500 from the emergency response fund for Zimbabwe to prepare the MoH to contain malaria epidemics in ten high-risk districts. The Country Office is also finalizing a Euros 3 million project to be submitted to ECHO to enhance the response to public health emergencies.

- Funds to support humanitarian health activities were also received from Italy, Ireland and the CERF.