Health action in crises - Highlights No 124 - 04 to 10 Sep 2006

from World Health Organization
Published on 10 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:

- On 26 August, government employees in the West Bank, including health workers, started an strike to demand payment of their long-overdue salaries.

- Visits to hospitals and primary health care facilities in Ramallah and Bethlehem districts show that hospital admissions and surgical operations are only accepted in very critical cases, once approved by a technical medical committee and the local strike committee.

- The MoH underlined his concern over the strike and made a call to the international community to renew its commitments in support of the health of the Palestinian population.


- WHO met with the Local Aid Coordination Committee to discuss the development of the coordination mechanisms under the current constraints between the international community and the Palestinian Authority.

- WHO and UNICEF visited the MoH central drug storage facilities for an update on the current status of drugs availability in the governmental health sector. WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA are supporting the MoH to improve the drug management information system. WHO and ECHO are discussing ways to meet the urgent needs of the health sector.

- WHO continues monitoring the health situation and accessibility to health care and providing periodic updates on the situation.

- WHO requested around US$ 30 million as part of the revised UN appeal. As of 31 August, only 1.4 million had been received.

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


Assessments and events:

- A WHO assessment of health facilities shows that a quarter of those examined are not functioning due to physical damage, lack of staff or lack of accessibility, and that water and fuel shortages remain a serious concern.

- Only one-third have potable water, and just one in four remain linked to the general sewerage system or to a power supply. 31% use generators but less than one in five has enough fuel to run them. The report can be seen at:

- No disease outbreaks have been reported so far. However, large scale damage to water and sewage networks remains a major concern.

- An interagency joint assessment mission was organized to Kafr Chouba, where 80 dwellings were destroyed and 600 damaged. WHO reports that the health centre is functioning. Electrical power supply is available and people have access to safe water supply. The municipality requested 150 household water tanks to replace the damaged ones. Cluster bombs and unexploded ordnances remain a significant concern to the community.


- Over 80 physicians, nurses and health workers were trained on surveillance and outbreak investigation in Dahia (South Beirut), Baalbeck and Hasbaya.

- WHO sent one Trauma kit to Rachaya hospital.

- Following the report of an increased number of diarrhoea cases in Yanouh (south of Tyre), WHO's investigation reported that the situation is under control. As a preventive measure, WHO gave 200 kilograms of chlorine to the Wadi Gilo water station which is providing drinking water to Yanouh.

- Another 800 kilograms were provided to the water pump station in Tyre.

- WHO supported the public hospitals in Nabatieh and Tyre with two water purification systems units donated by Global Medics. Staff received training on the proper use and maintenance of the machines.

- WHO is in the process of purchasing 2000 rapid water testing kits to be distributed to NGOs and other institutions in the districts of Tyre, Marjayoun, Bent Jbeil, Nabatieh and Hasbayiah

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

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