Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 201 - 24 to 30 Mar 2008

from World Health Organization
Published on 30 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

- Humanitarian needs are expected to continue during the upcoming period of return and re-integration of the IDPs.

- An estimated 300 000 IDPS are still in camps and twice as many are residing in host communities. Camps are congested and the quality of water, shelter and sanitation has fallen below international standards.

- The return of a number of IDPs to their provinces of origin will increase the pressure on infrastructures, even in areas unaffected by the violence, and stretch further humanitarian operations.

- The already fragile health care system was seriously weakened by the crisis and is only partially functioning. Many health facilities remain closed. Many displaced health workers have not and may not return to their posts. Patients suffering from chronic diseases have lost access to treatment.

- In the North Eastern province, the cholera outbreak in Mandera district continues, with 323 cases and 11 deaths reported as of 13 March.

- As of the same date, 204 cases of cholera and 16 deaths had also been reported in Nyanza province.

- Improving coordination and information management, identifying and filling gaps, reinforcing disease surveillance and providing psychosocial support remain crucial. Other key interventions include access to primary health care and curative and referral care services for IDP and host communities.


- WHO continues to lead the Health Cluster and, in collaboration with UNICEF and UNFPA, to support health partners (Kenyan Red Cross, international and local NGOs, community- and faith-based organizations), and the provincial and district teams that respond to immediate needs and arising public health threats.

- WHO's emergency activities have been funded by the CERF and Australia. Turkey also indicated interest in WHO's activities. WHO and IMC are negotiating with OFDA for a grant. WHO also advanced US$ 240 000 from its own regular budget.

- In the context of the Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan, WHO is requesting external assistance to:

  • ensure surveillance and respond to disease outbreaks;
  • strengthen coordination, information management, assessments and monitoring in the most critical provinces as well as in Nairobi;
  • identify gaps in the health care delivery system as well as in the overall emergency response and facilitate gap-filling interventions;
  • support primary health care services and ensure the availability of medical supplies in IDP camps and host communities.

Assessments and Events

- In the east, between 3 and 23 March, 13 cases of meningitis were notified in five districts. No deaths were reported and none of the districts has reached epidemic level.

- Mass vaccination against measles is ongoing among the refugees that recently arrived from Darfur. IMC has already immunized 816 children under 15.

- Security remains volatile.


- WHO continues supervision and training to improve health workers' skills in surveillance and management of malnutrition; the most recent mission was conducted in Amdam. In coordination with UNICEF and UNHCR, WHO provided training on the recommendations of the national protocol on the management of malnutrition in Ouaddaï and Wadi Fira.

- Similarly, WHO, in collaboration with the team from the regional hospital in Abeche, is supervising and reinforcing the laboratory capacities of the hospitals in Amdam, Iriba, Guereda and Goz Beida.

- A training on the surveillance and management of measles and yellow fever was also organized in Abeche.

- WHO provided transport media and laboratory supplies to Save the Children in Bredjing and COOPI in Goz Beida. WHO is organizing the provision of additional medical supplies.

- Recent WHO's activities in Chad have been funded by ECHO Italy, Finland and the CERF. WHO in Ndjamena is discussing further funding with ECHO. WHO is discussing further funding with ECHO in Ndjamena.