Kenya + 10 more

Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 197 - 25 Feb to 02 Mar 2008


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 offices 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.


Assessments and Events

- On 28 February, the conflicting parties agreed to form a coalition government.

- Expectations are high, although the risk of violence, food insecurity and general distress continue to affect large numbers of people., Crowded conditions in some IDP camps cause concerns about the standards of services available. The need for additional or larger sites to ease this congestion is becoming critical.

- IDPs leave the camps in the Rift Valley to move to their families' place of origin, in Nyanza, Western Kenya and Central Province.

- In each of these four provinces and in Nairobi, new pressure on infrastructures and supplies - water and sanitation as well as food and basic commodities increases the risk for disease and demand urgent attention.

- The main causes of consultation are respiratory infections, diarrhoea and fevers (including malaria). Malnutrition in children under five is also reported. The MoH reports that there has been no cases of meningitis in the Rift Valley for the last three weeks. However, a meningitis preparedness plan has been completed.

- Meanwhile, in Mandera (North-eastern Province), cholera is spreading and is threatening refugees and host populations. A total of 392 suspected cases of cholera and seven deaths have been reported including 12 in Mandera Triangle on 26 and 27 February.


- WHO's operations in the field continue with teams based in Nakuru, Eldoret and Kisumu. The teams support coordination meetings, conduct assessments in IDP camps and provide technical assistance to provincial/district health teams.

- In Mandera, cross-border meetings have been initiated by Kenyan health authorities with counterparts from Ethiopia and Somalia on how to contain the cholera outbreak. WHO is assisting the Provincial Health Office and Mandera's District Health Team.

- WHO had already applied to the CERF to support refugee health in the North- Eastern Province: cholera now raises considerably the funding requirements.

- WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA obtained US$ 634 000 from the CERF for immediate life-saving activities. WHO is participating in the Flash Appeal and has received funds from the CERF and a statement of interest from Australia.


Assessments and Events

- Latest figures indicate that 60 people were killed by Cyclone Ivan and nearly 145 000 were left homeless, including 20 000 in the capital.

- Preliminary assessments in Antananarivo show overcrowding and poor sanitation in the shelters, which put people at risk of waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea or cholera. Scarce logistic resources are delaying assessments out of the capital.

- Health infrastructures and medical supplies are damaged or destroyed, reducing access to health care including for chronic diseases patients.

- The national contingency plan needs to be supported by strong health coordination and disease surveillance.


- WHO has deployed an EHA expert from its inter-country office in Harare to assist in need assessment, response planning and Health Cluster coordination.

- WHO is requesting US$ 350 000 from the CERF to strengthen its activities in the field, to reinforce epidemiological surveillance, primary and mobile healthcare (provision of essential drugs and training for health staff) and health education activities and to stockpile essential medicines.

- WHO 's emergency activities are funded by the CERF. Monaco is expressing the intention of support WHO's response to the event.