Since the last quarter of 2004 the North Eastern part of Kenya has been facing an unprecedented drought affecting about 3.5 million people (Fig. 1: worst affected districts). Health impact has been obvious mainly on vulnerable people (children and mothers). Malnutrition (severe malnutrition), increasing communicable diseases cases (measles outbreak threat) were among several causes of morbidity and mortality. To save lives and reduce suffering, WHO in collaboration with the MoH and health stakeholders applied for and receive the new CERF grant. WHO plan for utilization of these funds was to improve the information system through regular assessments and strengthening of the existing surveillance system, support the coordination of the health cluster, identify and fill in critical gaps to save lives and build capacities to provide essential needs and reduce vulnerability. CERF related activities started in April following the receipt of the fund by WHO HQ on 31 March 2006. The present report presents activities implemented during the period 1st April to 19th May 2006.
In order to start the implementation of life saving activities planned under the CERF fund some actions have been taken.
Planning with key partners
In order to have consensus among the UN partners, meetings were held with UNICEF and UNFPA for the following purposes:
- During the proposal elaboration phase.
- To discuss on ways to improve collaboration
- On support to the MOH and joint planning
Meetings were also held with Kenya Red Cross where collaboration was discussed especially on the distribution of kits in the districts.
Assessment and meeting with stakeholders in the field;
WHO with the MOH made a rapid assessment visit to Garissa the Provincial Headquarters of the North Eastern Province. The objective was to meet with stakeholders on the ground and also meet with the Provincial Health Management Teams (PHMT) and District Health Management Teams (DHMT) from the four districts of the province who were meeting to review the response to the emergency. During the visit the WHO/MOH team met with other stakeholders from UNICEF, DANIDA and Kenya Red Cross. The mission received a report on the status of the four districts including the gaps identified. The main gaps were in the following areas:
- Coordination of stakeholders on Health issues
- Inadequate skills to address the case management
- Inadequate information on the emergency from the Ministry of Health side
- Inadequate capacity to manage the health issues. This included response to an outbreak of measles in the area, which was overwhelming the system
Internal planning process
Based on the information gathered from the visit to Garissa, a 90 days plan was developed with the MOH with support from WHO HQ (HAC), AFRO (EHA), ICT
Nairobi and KCO. The plan also took into consideration interventions that would make a difference in terms of mortality and suffering reduction. Four key areas identified were:
- Need assessment and information provision,
- Coordination of health response,
- Filling gaps and
- Building capacity.
Implementation of the 90 days plan
Implementation of the planned activities began as the processing of funds was on going in HQ/Geneva. The approval for the funds was signed on 31st March.
A comprehensive plan to implement activities during 30 days, 60 days and 90 days was developed and endorsed by the Ministry of Health.
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