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Lebanon Crisis: Health Cluster Bulletin No. 20, 13 Jun 2007

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The Lebanon Crisis Health Cluster Bulletin aims to give an overview of the health activities conducted by the health cluster partners in relation to the latest Lebanon conflict as well as the crisis in the Palestinian camps. It compiles health information received from the different organizations working in the most affected areas.

The Health Cluster Bulletin will be issued every Wednesday.

Highlights

No outbreaks were reported through the Early Warning and Response system (EWARS). However, cases of suspected Brucellosis, Typhoid or Paratyphoid Fever are awaiting diagnosis confirmation.

Four new casualties due to Unexploded Ordnances (UXOs), cluster bombs and mines were reported in the South through the National Demining Office (NDO).

Nahr El-Bared Crisis

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is leading the Humanitarian and Relief interventions in response to the Nahr El-Bared Crisis.

Tension continues in Naher El-Bared camp leading to more Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Two Volunteers from the Lebanese Red Cross were killed during relief interventions in the camp on June 11, 2007.

Situation Overview

Through the reports of the EWARS, three cases of suspected Brucellosis unconfirmed from Bent Jbeil and one confirmed case from Tyr district. Investigation by Tyr district doctor was undertaken. In addition, 15 cases of suspected Typhoid, Para Typhoid Fever or Brucellosis were reported from Marjeyoun. Confirmation is underway.

According to the NDO, four new casualties were registered from 29 May until 13 June 2007, bringing the total number of military and civilian casualty figures due to landmines/UXOs/cluster bombs to 238 divided as follows: 195 injured civilians, 22 killed civilians and 21 military casualties. The new casualties are related to agricultural and construction activities.

Nahr El-Bared Crisis

Tension remains high in Nahr El-Bared camp in Tripoli, North of Lebanon restricting access to the camp.

According to UNRWA, reports from Beddawi camp regarding reportable communicable diseases indicate that no changes in the incidence of communicable diseases has occurred among IDPs and camp residents. Cases of Pediculosis (144), scabies (59), as well as fungal and Bacterial skin infections (332) were reported in the Beddawi camp among residents and IDPs.

On June 11, 2007, UNRWA counted 30,740 IDPs. The majority (26,247) are in the North of Lebanon. Three hundred ninety one persons fled to Bekaa, 2,006 to Central Lebanon Area, 1,140 to Saida and 956 to Tyr.

Health Response to the Humanitarian Crisis

National and international Health Cluster partners are providing support in four core areas:

1. Assessment and monitoring

WHO explored, in coordination with the Ministry of Public Health team and concerned UN partners as well as professional associations and societies, the possibility of reviving the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFH) as part of the WHO Infant and Young Child Feeding Program (IYCF) in Lebanon. The assessment included a sample of 10 private and public hospitals. The main recommendation highlighted the need to promote BFH by establishing IYCF National Committee and ensuring capacity building. A plan of action was developed accordingly.

2. Health coordination

The next Health cluster meeting will take place on Tuesday June 19 at 15:00, WHO office within the Ministry of Public Health office in Tyr.

The next Mental Health and Psychosocial Support sub-cluster coordination meeting will take place on Monday June 25 at 12:00, WHO office-Tyr.

The Health Cluster and Mental Health Matrices are regularly updated and shared with partners.

Nahr El-Bared Crisis

The third Health Cluster meeting chaired by UNRWA and Co Chaired by WHO took place on June 12 at UNRWA-Lebanon Field Office in Beirut. UN agencies and local Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) operating in the North area attended the meeting.

UNRWA health coordinator in the North is conducting a daily Health Coordination meeting with Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Beddawi Camp.

The Resident Coordinator Representative (RCO) and UNRWA representative are attending, on behalf of all UN agencies, a daily meeting with the Prime Minister to coordinate and update on relief actions for the crisis in the camps.

An updated Humanitarian intervention matrix of the various partners acting in response to the Naher El-Bared crisis is available on www.lebanon-support.org.

3. Filling health gaps Nahr El-Bared Crisis

UNRWA Beddawi clinic is providing medical services for Naher El-Bared IDPs. The number of consultations for IDPs is more than two times that of the camp residents with 2,876 in comparison to 1,238 for camp residents over the last week. Also, the mobile clinic delivered 248 consultancies.

UNRWA environmental health team conducted an insect and rodent control campaign in the areas of displacement and in Beddawi camp in general.

UNICEF provided the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) in Naher El-Bared with essential medicines and medical supplies sufficient for 5,000 Children. Further, essential medicines were provided to be delivered to Safad Hospital in Beddawi Camp adequate for 15,000 patients.

UNICEF is supporting PRCS in the promotion of Breast-feeding practices among Child Bearing Age women in Beddawi camp. The aim is to reach 1,200 women.

UNRWA is providing on a daily basis 3 million liters of potable water to Beddawi camp inhabitants from UNRWA water wells. A stand by water supply system composed of 40 rigid water tanks of varying capacities has been installed.

UNRWA is following up on the issue of garbage collection at Beddawi camp. Regular meetings are conducted with the camp municipality as well as Tripoli municipality.

Response International (RI) donated assorted drugs for the benefits of IDPs in Beddawi camp.

4. Preserving and supporting local health systems

Imam Sadr Foundation in collaboration with UNICEF organized 5 days animation training for 30 community workers and volunteers in Siddiqine healthcare center. The training is in preparation for the summer camp targeting 100 children aged 6 to 12 years to be held from 2 to 20 July 2007. A similar summer camp is planned for Ayta Chaab from July 23 to August 10, 2007.

WHO training workshop on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies was conducted reaching 46 paramedical staff from Health centers in Tyr area.

Nahr El-Bared Crisis

Based on WHO recommendations and in line with the IASC guidelines, UNRWA in collaboration with UNICEF is conducting a vaccination campaign for Palestinian children in North Lebanon. So far, 2,916 children under 5 years received the Poliomyelitis vaccine and 8,722 between 9 months and 15 years received the measles vaccine. The Lebanese Ministry of Public Health will provide additional quantities of vaccine if needed.

UNRWA medical officer and nurse are conducting field visits to IDPs shelter to provide appropriate treatment for scabies, Pediculosis as well as other skin infections, in addition to Hygiene Education.

World Health Organization
http://www.leb.emro.who.int/
http://www.virtualhic.org
All inputs are welcome on: health@leb.emro.who.int