Tropical Cyclone Pam: Vanuatu - Health Cluster Bulletin #4, 19 April 2015

Situation Report
Originally published



  • Reactivation of health activities: 1 provincial hospital and 2 health centres have been repaired to the extent that vital health services can be provided at an increased level. Temporary infrastructure is currently being mobilized to enable a further 13 critically affected sites to function.

  • Funding Gap: According to UNOCHA FTS, 50% of the requested USD 30 million for the Cyclone Pam Flash Appeal has been met. Of the USD 5,038,408 in CERF funding, over USD 2.3 million has been disbursed within the health sector, towards the restoration and improvement of health services and public health interventions in cyclone-affected areas, reproductive health, and emergency health and nutrition support. The Australian government announced this week a further AUD 1.5 million to repair health infrastructure, re-stocking of pharmaceutical supplies, strengthening of immunization and support to the cold storage and transport of medicines. Of this, AUD 250,000 will be dedicated to the coordination of health cluster partners and continued disease surveillance and outbreak response.

  • Drugs and Medical Supplies: The Central Medical Store continues assisting in the distribution of emergency medical drugs and supplies to health facilities with increased needs while fully resuming its routine supply services.

  • FMTs: the number of operational foreign medical teams further decreased this week to six – with two having left Efate and Tanna islandsin the middle of the week, and one commencing mobile (ship) services to remote islands in Tafea province as of Friday. The government of Fiji is expected to deploy nine midwives at the end of April to support VCH for one month. Department of Health midwives and one doctor from the Philippines will be deployed to support LCH in Tanna and provide in-service capacity building.

 Emergency Medical Evacuations: 71 medevacs have been carried out to date, 4 of which were this week.
While the number of medevacs is decreasing the medical referral system that was severely hampered by lack of communication and transport is picking up as the situation stabilizes.

  • Immunization: 7,100 children have been immunized in Santo, which concludes the campaign for that island.

  • Disease surveillance: 45 cases of acute fever and rash (AFR) on Erromango were investigated this week and clinically diagnosed as chicken pox. There was an increase in reports of AFR in Port Vila and ILI in Tanna. Four newly diagnosed cases of TB were also reported on Tanna island. The high number of diarrhoea cases continues to be monitored in Tanna. EWARN systems being set up on Pentecost and Maewo islands.

  • Vector-borne disease control: As of Tuesday 14 April, 23,540 bed nets have been distributed to protect 30,076 persons in northern parts of Port Vila.

  • Government led assessments: The harmonized assessment led by the government and covering 5 sectors has been concluded. Key findings for health are:  A high proportion of health facilities were damaged, however all but 7 remain partially (19) or fully (45) functioning.  The provision of health services has decreased in all sectors of health care delivery, in particular in the general clinical services and in the child health ones.  Overall the impact on the capacity of the health services to deliver curative and preventive services has been significant, in a very fragile health system with a low level of health staff particularly in regards to medical doctors and midwifes before the cyclone.

  • The World Bank led Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) indicates that the total effect of tropical cyclone Pam on the health sector is estimated to be approximately VT 976.2 million, split VT 869.9 million (89%) for damage and VT 106.3 million (11%) for loss.

  • Nutrition: 3,484 children have been screened for acute malnutrition in Tanna as part of the immunization campaign. Three cases of severe acute malnutrition were detected during the campaign.

  • IEC: the SMS health alerts campaign continues, with more text messages planned on nutrition and vectorborne disease prevention. Health messages continue to be disseminated through local radio and newspaper. Members of the Vatu Mauri Consortium also returned this week from Tanna and the Shepherd islands from disseminating health messages to community leaders.