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Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
15 February 2009

Health Action in Crises
Highlights No 246 - 9 to 15 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.


Assessments and Events

Despite the damage sustained, 53 out of 55 Palestinian MoH primary health care centres are running and all UNRWA centres have resumed normal functioning.
The Palestinian MoH/WHO operations room in Ramallah reports that 96% of the priority medicines and 81% of medical disposables have been delivered or committed.
Up to 50 000 people may need psychological help for the longer-term effects of the hostilities. Separated children, people with pre-existing mental disabilities, pre-existing or new physical disabilities, elderly who have lost family support and female-headed households are particularly at risk.
Based on preliminary figures from the MoH, Handicap International estimates 30% of people injured during the hostilities are at risk of becoming permanently disabled and will need specialized services and rehabilitation.

WHO continues to support the drug supply management system in Gaza.
WHO is supporting two triage hospitals, Kamal Edwan Hospital and Abu Yousif Al Najjar Hospital. WHO is also assisting in evacuation of injured patients – 608 people have been evacuated through Rafah so far.
WHO, UNICEF and UNWRA are coordinating the implementation of mental health activities in Gaza. There is a strong pre-existing mental health and psychosocial support but restricted humanitarian access hampers external assistance.
The Special Appeal for life-saving and recovery needs in Gaza is requiring US$ 43.6 million for the Health Sector, including US$ 9.7 million for WHO. So far, WHO has received support from Italy, Norway and Switzerland.


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