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World Health Organization (WHO)
10 June 2007
Health action in crises
Highlights No 160 – 4 to 10 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.
OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY
Assessments and events:
• The health sector strike ended on 29 May after more than three months. However the conflict is not solved and syndicates threaten to resume the strike in three weeks if salaries are not paid shortly.
• With the exception of a small number of isolated incidents the cease-fire agreed between Hamas and Fatah on 19 May continues to hold. Over the past few weeks more than 100 people have been killed and at least 400 injured in the Gaza Strip, both by factional violence and fighting with the Israeli Defence Force.
• WHO visited the primary health directorate and the general public hospital in the district of Jenin as part of its monitoring of health service provision; local health representatives presented their needs and the challenges faced by the health facilities.
• WHO took part in a discussion on forced displacement convened by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Participants shared information on activities related to IDPs in the oPt.
• 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.
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. Thousands of elderly and sick refugees are in urgent need of treatment for chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney failure.
• The ongoing flow of refugees into neighbouring camps and local communities is causing overcrowding and stretching host communities’ capacities.
• No changes in incidence of communicable diseases were reported among IDPs and camp residents.
• UNRWA is leading the relief interventions.
• UNRWA has established two mobile clinics to provide medical services to those 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.
• The second Health Cluster meeting chaired by UNRWA and co-chaired by WHO took place on 5 June; UNICEF and local NGOs attended.
• WHO has committed one emergency trauma kit as well as chronic and essential medical care kits. Two other trauma kits will be available shortly.