Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 226, 15 to 21 Sep 2008

Report
from World Health Organization
Published on 21 Sep 2008 View Original
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 office 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.

CARIBBEAN HURRICANES/STORMS

- In Haiti, the UN and partners have launched a Flash Appeal requesting US$ 107.7 million to help the population recover from the hurricanes for the next six months.

- WHO/PAHO is leading the Health Cluster in Haiti, organizing a thriceweekly meeting in Port-au-Prince, cochaired with the MoH, to exchange information regarding access to difficult areas, evaluation of needs and gaps, information on health status, health services delivery and response, water and sanitation.

- In Gonaives, WHO/PAHO, MSFBelgium and the MoH are organizing daily Health Cluster meetings.

- An information meeting on hurricanes Gustav, Hanna and Ike was held in Geneva on 16 September.

Assessments and Events

- In Haiti, national authorities report 423 people dead and 800 000 affected by Fay, Hanna, Gustav and Ike. Flooding affected numerous health facilities in Gonaives, Port de Paix and Les Cayes and Gonaives referral hospital is expected not to function in the future. A field hospital is considered until a new one is built. Nationwide, most health facilities are intact but remained inaccessible till recently in several areas.

- In Cuba, 2.6 million people, or just under a quarter of the population, were evacuated due to Hurricane Ike. Medical facilities in the west were extensively damaged, jeopardizing health care delivery and hampering disease surveillance and control activities. Rapid rehabilitation of damaged facilities is under way and assessments are being conducted in eastern Cuba.

- In the Dominican Republic, more than 43 000 people were affected. In Jamaica, 11 hospitals sustained structural damages as did the Grand Turk Hospital.

- The provision of safe drinking water and epidemiological surveillance are priorities.

Actions

- Several WHO/PAHO experts on disaster management, epidemiology, logistics, water and sanitation and environmental health were deployed across the region.

- In Haiti, WHO is seeking US$1 million to coordinate the health sector response, implement epidemiological surveillance, early warning and vector controlmeasures and support access to health care in the affected areas. Another $3.2 million is being sought for urgent health projects by WHO partners, including UNICEF, UNFPA, Pharmaciens Sans Frontières, Comité International, and Médecins du Monde-France/Switzerland/Canada. Priorities are to:

i. ensure access to health care for affected population, including pregnant women;

ii. provide nutritional support for 250 000 childbearing age women, 40 000 pregnant women and 130 000 children under five; and

iii. ensure treatment for people with chronic diseases.

- In Cuba, WHO/PAHO is requesting US$1.2 million to provide medical supplies and equipment and ensure access to health care for more than 2 million people in the eastern and western provinces, including nearly 200 000 now living in shelters. Vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, children, the elderly and those with disabilities and injuries are particularly targeted. US$ 524 000 have already been secured from the CERF to re-equip health facilities and provide maternal and child health care in Pinar del Rio province and on Isla de la Juventud, off the southern coasts.