South Asia: Tsunami & Health Situation Report # 34

from World Health Organization
Published on 08 Feb 2005
Rehabilitation work is progressing rapidly, with new buildings already being erected. Many Internally Displaced People are going back to the site of their homes. There has been a confirmed case of dengue fever and suspected cases in Aceh Utara, Indonesia, but no major outbreaks. Mental health remains a widespread problem. WHO is working closely with governments to strengthen health infrastructure.


  • A confirmed case of dengue fever has been identified in Aceh Utara, Indonesia, and further potential cases of dengue have been discovered.

  • Over 90,000 children (69 %) have been immunized for measles in Aceh. Vitamin A supplements have been provided to over 20,000 children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years.

  • An estimated 820 births occur every month in Banda Aceh, and more than 7300 births per month in the province. Pregnancy-related complications could increase from baseline levels of 15 % to 25 %.

  • In Sri Lanka, a UN inter-agency meeting outlined the roles of all organizations. WHO is facilitating health sector co-ordination through the Ministry of Health and Nutrition.
Health Priorities

Communicable Diseases

Indonesia: A suspected case of dengue fever in Aceh Utara was confirmed and a field investigation found further suspected cases of dengue. There has been one suspected case of Hepatitis E and one of acute jaundice. The number of health partners participating in communicable disease surveillance continues to grow. As of 2 February, 2005, over 90 000 (69%) children in Aceh have been immunised against measles. Vaccination activities targeting schools and communities outside the camps have also begun. In the Aceh to Meulaboh area, widespread distribution of bednets is necessary. Some settlements are also demanding spraying with insecticides in order to prevent malaria.

A WHO team from Jakarta visited Banda Aceh from 31 January to 5 February to assess TB control capacity. This assessment will be replicated in other affected districts over the coming weeks. Pre-tsunami, there were six puskesmas (health centres) in Banda Aceh; all had TB patients and provided TB drugs and two could perform microscopic tests to confirm the presence of TB. The two 'microscopic puskesmas' were destroyed in the Tsunami, but the remaining four are functioning well. WHO, working with the National TB Programme, has arranged for the transport and storage of fixed-dose drug combinations (combi-paks) for 700 adults and 100 children. The Provinicial Health Office will upgrade one of the remaining four puskesmas to microscopic capability. The National TB Programme sent microscopes and reagents for this purpose. NGOs, mobile clinics and field hospitals currently treating TB patients will be encouraged to transfer patients to the puskesmas. This will help to strengthen the puskesmas and ensure that patients have continuous access to treatment, especially the itinerant population. Standing Operating Procedures on how to diagnose and treat TB patients are being distributed through the Provincial Health Office to NGOs, mobile clinics, and field hospitals, as many of them are unfamiliar with TB management.

India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand: No outbreaks have been reported.

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