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World Health Organization (WHO)
3 June 2007
Health action in crises
Highlights No 159 – 28 May to 3 June 2007
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.
• On 30 May, the IASC Weekly meeting in Geneva updated on the situation of Iraqi children and on the humanitarian situation in Lebanon.
Assessments and events:
• Fighting in the Palestinian camp of Nahr al-Bared has forced more than half of the 40 000 residents to flee, mostly to the nearby Badami camp. Half of these refugees are being sheltered in five highly overcrowded schools.
• Thousands of elderly and sick refugees in the camps are in urgent need of treatment for chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney failure.
• A recent ICRC assessment on access to health facilities for Palestinians in Lebanon’s camps, had showed that about 30% of the people living in Nahr al-Bared suffer from heart disease, 17% from neurological disorders such as
epilepsy, and 16% from diabetes.
• The health centre in Badami camp is operating on double shift to provide essential medical services to the new comers.
• UNRWA has established two mobile clinics to provide medical services to the people fleeing from the camps. With the facilitation of the MoPH and WHO, UNRWA made arrangements with the Islamic Hospital in Tripoli to admit Palestinian patients at reduced prices and with the local pharmacies in Tripoli to sell medications that are not available in its stock at reduced prices.
• WHO has committed one emergency trauma kit as well as chronic and essential medical care kits. Two other trauma kits will be available shortly.
OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY
Assessments and events:
• The cease-fire between Fatah and Hamas announced on 19 May that ended the week long internal violence is still holding. However the situation remains tense. The latest issue of OCHA’s Humanitarian Monitor emphasizes, among the main issues affecting the population, the escalation of the strike and the rising poverty and declining access to services. In the West Bank. Hospitals only provide life-saving treatments.
• WHO continues monitoring health care provision in the West Bank.
• The pharmaceutical project continues: consumables and lab supplies are now stored at the WHO warehouse in Ramallah, while drugs and laboratory items have been ordered. Consultations are ongoing with partners to sort out technical and practical issued related to the project.
• In 2006, WHO’s emergency activities were funded by the Organization’s Regular Budget and contributions from ECHO, Finland, Japan and Norway as well as the CERF. For 2007, support has been pledged from Norway and Italy.