Health action in crises - Highlights No 123 - 28 Aug to 02 Sep 2006

from World Health Organization
Published on 03 Sep 2006 View Original
Each week, the World Health Organization Department for Health Action in Crises in Geneva produces information highlights on the health aspects of selected 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:

- Salaries of civil servants have not been paid since last March but allowances were paid through the Temporary International Mechanism. Most health workers are still going to work, but they are threatening to suspend all services as of 2 September, including in patient care, with the exception of emergency cases.

- Shortages of resources and supplies are compromising the MoH capacity to deliver care. Patients in need of long term treatments, especially dialysis and cancer patients, are particularly affected.


- WHO continues assessing the situation in hospitals and primary health centres in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

- Thanks to a pledge from ECHO, WHO is developing a project to strengthen the pharmaceuticals supply and management system.

- The WHO Mental Health Team conducted field activities in Hebron, Bethlehem and Ramallah. WHO is working with partners to re-organize the mental health referral system.

- WHO presented an update on the current emergency in the health sector during a meeting with donors hosted by ECHO.

- UNICEF and WHO are assessing the immunization programme in Gaza.

- WHO's 2006 emergency activities are funded by the Organization's Regular Budget and contributions from Norway.


Assessments and events:

- Up to 100 000 pieces of unexploded ordnance remain in South Lebanon, a major obstacle to operations and a pressing humanitarian concern.

- Half of all potable water supplies in South Lebanon have been damaged.

- Preliminary results of the health facility assessment show that up to 83% of all Primary Health Care facilities in Bint Jbeil and Marjayoun are not functioning. Shortages of fuel, drinking water, and medical supplies are a concern.


- WHO is training NGOs and MoH staff on early warning and surveillance. More than 100 people from health centres in Hermel, Nabatieh and Jezzine and Tyre have attended so far.

- The Health Cluster in Tyre distributed drugs and supplies to Marjayoun, Ben Jbeil and An Nabatiyeh hospitals and to Beit Leif, Al Zahla and Kfar Kila health centres.

- An assessment of the main public health laboratories in Hermel, Baalbeck, Nabatieh and Jezzine founds that they are well equipped. WHO will provide reagents and other supplies.

- NGOs are moving their activities to South Lebanon. The Health Cluster meeting in Tyre was well-attended, and another public health officer is now in Tyre.

- A meeting was held on 26 August with WHO, UNICEF and the Syrian MoH to evaluate the emergency response during the crisis, the lessons learned and recommendations to strengthen preparedness.

- Pledges for health activities were received from the CERF, Australia, Canada, ECHO, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Norway and Sweden.

- During the Stockholm Conference, donors nearly doubled expectations of aid, pledging US$ 940 million of help to rebuild Lebanon.


Assessments and events:

- Since April, up to 200 000 people have been displaced by renewed violence and are at risk of injury or death whether because of cross fires or because of loss of access to health care and other lifelines.

- This is making children, women of reproductive age, elderly people and patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, extremely vulnerable.


- Health partners are planning to coordinate and assist local authorities to:

Improve immunization coverage;

Provide timely treatment and proper referral to the sick and injured;

Address cases of sexual violence;

Provide psychosocial support;

Monitor the overall performance of the public health system.

- WHO is participating in the CHAP and requesting US$ 2 million to reduce avoidable mortality and morbidity by strengthening the presence and capacity of health personnel in affected areas, replacing lost assets and supplies and reactivating or upgrading key health facilities and programmes.

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