Liberia + 15 more

Health Action in Crises Monthly Report Oct 2004


DISCLAIMER: The following is a non-exhaustive selection of health-related events For a list of acronyms, please see the last page of this and WHO actions undertaken during the stated period in specific countries in update. which populations are experiencing crisis conditions. This has been compiled by WHO/Health Action in Crises (HAC/HQ), in consultation with relevant Country and Regional Offices. If you are a WHO staff member and wish to contribute to this update, please write

AFRO West Africa Sub-Region

Regional Office Focal Point: K.E Siamevi,
HQ Focal Point: K. Shibib,



Assessments indicate that the health situation for many of Liberia's people is very poor. Access to basic health services continues to be practically non-existent, contributing to the country's high infant and child mortality rates (among the highest in the world). National programmes -- for prevention, primary health care, basic curative care, reproductive health, referral services, supply of drugs and logistics, and ambulance services -- are not functioning adequately.

On 1 October, the first of 340,000 Liberian refugees started repatriating from Sierra Leone and Ghana as part of a UN repatriation exercise (IRIN).

The government and the UN said ex-combatants who have handed in their weapons but have not received promised education or skills training pose a threat to national security. The UN expected 38,000 ex-combatants would report for disarmament, but figures show that by 5 October, 83,000 people had been disarmed (IRIN).

Religious riots erupted in Monrovia late October and continued until UN peacekeeping troops restored order and the government imposed an indefinite curfew.

WHO Interventions

WHO continues to coordinate the medical screening component of the Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration process in conjunction with the MoH and NGOs.

WHO is working to strengthen disease surveillance by training County Teams and ensuring that all teams are equipped and functional. WHO is empowering reporting institutions to report surveillance data in timely intervals, and investigating disease outbreaks.

WHO is supporting the MoH to restore essential health services in Liberia by renovating and equipping health facilities, and revitalizing essential health services and programmes.

WHO is facilitating the deployment and re-training of essential health workers. It recently conducted training for 300 health workers at all levels.

Nutrition interventions by WHO include the development and dissemination of nutrition guidelines, policies, and protocols, as well as the establishment of functional therapeutic centres and supplementary feeding centres.

WHO continues to support the MoH in fulfilling health-related benchmarks laid out in the Liberia Results-Focused Transition Framework.

Security Phase: 4

WHO Representative: Dr E. Nyarko

Central African Republic


Torrential rains fell for 96 hours in the Bangui region causing flooding and serious damage. The flooding left 12,096 people homeless. Water sources and wells are also polluted, exposing the population to risks of water-borne diseases (ReliefWeb).

The situation in CAR remains tense. The country faces a profound structural crisis marked by political strife including mutinies and coup d'état attempts.

WHO Interventions

WHO supports the MoH in reinforcing the technical capabilities to prevent and detect epidemics, namely cholera, meningitis, measles, etc.

WHO and UNICEF supports the MoH in the implementation of the Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI).

Security Phase: 2, 3,4

WHO Representative: L. Bazira



Six cases of acute fever with jaundice have been reported from two refugee camps, in the past two weeks, with one death.

Since 26 June, 1,220 cases of Hepatitis E with 37 deaths have been reported from Goz Amer and Djabal areas. During epidemiological week 38, there were 82 new cases with two deaths in Goz Amer, while in Djabal there were 170 cases with seven deaths. Outbreak control measures include strengthening surveillance activities through training of people, reinforcing hygiene measures, including the distribution of soap, and health promotion with the village elders. The need for soap remains high.

WHO Interventions

An urgent assessment mission has been carried out in the affected camps by WHO/MoH/UNHCR and UNICEF to collect latest information from the operational partners, including NGOs and UN agencies to establish a common strategy to prevent possible spread of the disease, to put in place a structure for management of the crisis and to disseminate information.

WHO is ensuring the active follow-up of blood tests to secure proper diagnosis, epidemiological surveillance and information management.

Groundwork for the setting up of the WHO EWARN surveillance system to monitor health of refugee and local population has continued throughout the month.

Preparatory work for the conduct a mortality study among refugees by WHO and other health partners is also being carried on.

Security Phase: 1, 2

WHO Representative: Y. Kassankogno
HQ Focal Point: P. Annunziata

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