Kenya: Health action in drought affected districts - 31 Oct 2006


Kenya World Health Organization receives new WHO Representative

The new World Health Organization Representative of Kenya, Dr. David Okello has assumed duty. He takes over from the former WR, Dr. Peter Eriki who has been reassigned to Nigeria.

During his farewell meeting with the staff he thanked all for their cooperation with him during his tenure of duty in Nairobi. He urged all staff to accord the new WR the same cooperation he had received from all.

In his first meeting with the staff the new WR, David Okello emphasized the spirit of team work among all staff.

The picture shows the outgoing WR on the left and the incoming WR on the right at the staff meeting

Synchronized Poliomyelitis campaign in five districts in NE Province

The Ministry of Health, WHO, UNICEF and Partners have almost completed preparations for the implementation of the five days Synchronised Poliomyelitis Immunization campaign in the five districts bordering Somalia and Ethiopia. The districts are Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Moyale and Ijara.

The campaign begins on the 4th and ends on the 8th November 2006. The campaign targets over 250,000 children below five years in the districts including the three refugee camps in Ifo, Hagadera and Dagahaley all around Dadaab. It is being synchronized with districts bordering the neighbouring countries of Somalia and Ethiopia. The campaign will be formally launched in Garissa on Saturday 4th November 2006. The combined teams of monitors and supervisors leave for the field on 1st November 2006.

A Coordination and preparatory meeting was held for the major stakeholders, the monitors, supervisors and social mobilizers on the 31st of October 2006. Topics discussed include the global polio update, update on the Kenyan situation and outbreak, responding to polio outbreak and lessons learnt from other countries and review of the implementation of the response plan.

Participants included, WHO Inter Country Support team(ICST), WHO Country Office, UNICEF, ESARO, MOH, KEPI, Disease Outbreak Management Unit (DOMU) of MOH, Kenyan Medical Research Institute, KEMRI and WHO Somalia.

Kenya launched Flash Appeal

The Kenyan launch of the United Nations Flash Appeal was held at the Holiday Inn hotel, in Nairobi on Thursday 26th October 2006.

The Welcome address was given by the UNHCR Country Representative Mr. E. Gedalof. In his opening remarks, he thanked participants for honouring the invitation.

He informed the forum that there were 32,000 new refugees which bring the total to 160,000 at the Dadaab refugee camps. The daily number of refugees coming to Kenya has reduced recently but the reasons may be due to bad roads, reported harassment and conscription of people fleeing Somalia and the relative peace now existing in Kismayu, among others. He said the aid community was appealing for US$35 million for the refugees. The current camps can absorb 50,000 more refugees but if the number exceeds this, then a new camp may be opened near Mandera. As a result of the worsening conditions in Somalia, the United Nations Emergency relief Coordinator had donated a grant of US$ 3.5 million.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Immigration and Registration of persons remarked on the Kenyan Government's role in this refugee crisis. He confirmed that there over 170,000 refugees now in Kenya including those at the Kakuma refugee camp and that since 1991 Kenya had been host to refugees from the Great lakes region. He said host countries need more predictive and supportive roles of the international community. He hailed the Sudanese peace agreement and hope the Sudanese refugees will soon voluntarily return. He also added that the Somalia conflict has placed a challenge and demands open discussion.

He concluded that "We need to give these people hope. They are human beings who need our assistance this time of their lives". He called on the donor community to support the flash appeal.

The representative of the Permanent Secretary of the MOH announced the outbreak of wild polio to the donors. He appealed to them for their support when the government approaches them soon. He mentioned the two rounds of national, high quality and house to house campaign will cost six million dollars. He said the flash appeal has come at the right time and urged the donors to respond.

Kenya will not close the borders but want the present chaos of registration to be streamlined. Kenya will however rely on the international community for capacity building and resources to cope.

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