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Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
8 February 2009




Health Action in Crises
Highlights No 245 - 2 to 8 February 2009

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.

OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY

Assessments and Events
• Sporadic, violent incidents continue despite the cease fire.
• 122 health facilities have been assessed as of 4 February. Around 48% were found to be damaged or destroyed including 15 hospitals and 43 primary health care centres.
• Health personnel are reporting back to work. Immunizations are resuming with a higher attendance rate than average, and electricity supplies are improving at health facilities. However, urgently needed psychotropic medications are in short supply and there is a lack of spare parts for medical machinery.
• Some agencies are reporting problems obtaining access to patients, and many patients are unable to access health facilities.
• Water pipelines continue to be fixed throughout Gaza, but it is estimated one million people remain without adequate access to safe water. There is a risk of diarrhoeal disease outbreaks due to lack of clean water and sanitation.

Actions
• WHO is undertaking a comprehensive needs and health facilities assessment compiling data from Health Cluster partners. WHO is also tracking all health sector activities in Gaza.
• WHO, in partnership with the MoH, continues to coordinate with NGOs and doctors on deploying appropriate health personnel into Gaza to ensure specialties being offered are needed by health services. The partnership also continues to monitor medical supply and priority drug needs.
• Water samples are being collected on a daily basis to ensure water quality, especially in areas with damaged networks.
• WHO is supporting the coordination and arrival of two Argentinean surgeons to Gaza European Hospital.
• The Special Appeal for lifesaving and recovery needs in Gaza was launched on 2 February in Geneva. Health Sector requirements amount to US$ 43.6 million (US$ 9.7 million for WHO). So far, WHO has received support from Norway, Italy, and Switzerland for emergency health activities benefiting the affected population

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