South Asia: Tsunami & Health Situation Report # 41

from World Health Organization
Published on 11 Mar 2005 View Original
The focus has been on reviewing the current situation and planning for the longer-term rehabilitation of the health systems . Health staff and volunteers are being trained to better address the mental health needs of the tsunami-affected population. Hygiene promotion is being addressed with volunteers being trained, and education materials being developed.


Over 150 community leaders and health workers have been trained for mental health interventions and community mental health teams will be stationed in 4 districts in Aceh, Indonesia.

Dental hygiene amongst school children is of concern in Calang, Indonesia where the only dentist perished in the tsunami.

In Sri Lanka, approximately 90% of the tsunami-displaced have also been displaced in the past by the conflict, leaving them particular vulnerable.

In Sri Lanka, the results of a survey to assess the water and sanitation situation in transition camps have been released, and facilities were found to be below national norms in some camps. More water storage facilities, toilets and bathing facilities are needed.

A one day workshop provided refresher training on psychosocial approaches to 150 "school advisors" in Sri Lanka.

In Sri Lanka the rice current harvest is expected to yield a bumper crop in the tsunami-affected areas.

Communicable Diseases

Indonesia: According to the Aceh Provincial health authorities, one person died of malaria (Plasmodium falciparum) from Teunom, in Aceh Jaya on 4 March. The patient became ill while traveling from Medan (situated on the eastern part of the island) to the West coast with five others, who were also subsequently reported as having a febrile illness. He was transferred to Medan where he expired. One of the five people who traveled with the patient was also subsequently tested and diagnosed with Plasmodium falciparum malaria.

A Ministry of Health vector survey conducted in Calang revealed that 59 malaria cases were reported in Teunom. Ninety five per cent of these cases occurred in adults, and 75% were positive for P.falciparum, either as single or mixed infections with P. vivax (11 cases of mixed infections). There were no malaria cases in children under five. For the month of February there were 31 cases reported in Calang - no increase. Larvicide is on order from the Public Health Office.

In Banda Aceh, nine teams, consisting of 186 Mentor personnel, sprayed the homes of more than 193 800 people. Teams also sprayed the relocation barracks housing 341 family units.

Two measles cases were confirmed from Lamgapang, in Aceh Besar, and Peniti, in Banda Aceh. Measles alerts from Aceh Jaya, Nagan Raya, Aceh Besar, Pidie, and Aceh Utara were investigated, but measles was determined to be unlikely. The third measles vaccination campaign has had a coverage rate at 79.4% in Banda Aceh, and the campaigns will continue in all other districts until 20 March.

Between 28th February and 6 March 2005, there have been 304 reported cases of acute watery diarrhoea, 21 reported cases of bloody diarrhoea, 23 confirmed cases of malaria, two reported cases of measles and seven reported cases of acute jaundice syndrome in the 14 districts affected by the tsunami in Aceh province.

Sri Lanka: On 10 March 2005, WHO Sri Lanka reported sporadic outbreaks of dengue in Trincomalee and Kinniya ministry of health (MOH) areas. A malaria outbreak in Illupankulam in the Trincomalee MOH area was also reported, although no specific numbers were available for either disease. Various control measures have been initiated by local health authorities, such as periodic spraying of insecticides, re-treatment/distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets, and currently the number of cases shows a declining trend.

WHO Sri Lanka also reported 32 cases of viral hepatitis in children aged 2-12 years, from Central Dispensary, Sampoor and Thileepan hospital, Pattalipuram. Only 4 of these cases were reported from Tsunami welfare centers. All the affected children had eaten illegally manufactured 'Ice pops' and ice creams brought from Muthur Town. These products have been implicated as the source of an out break of viral hepatitis in Muthur Town in 2004. Sampoor and Pattalipuram area have since banned the sale of these products. Drinking water is being chlorinated systematically and health education programs have been intensified.

India, Myanmar, Thailand, and Maldives: No communicable disease outbreaks or unusual events have been reported.

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