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Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
11 October 2004




Health Action in Crises (WHO/HAC) Highlights - No 30

The WHO/HQ Department for Health Action in Crises aims to produce a running note on select current issues at weekly intervals. This note - which is by no means exhaustive - is designed for internal use and does not reflect the official position of WHO.

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WEST BANK AND GAZA STRIP

Events:

Military action and the security situation in northern Gaza Strip are gravely restricting humanitarian access. In a special report, the United Nations warned of an impending humanitarian crisis. Compiled by 12 UN agencies, the report calls for free access by UN agencies to locations throughout Gaza Strip.

Only 50% of primary health care (PHC) centres normally operating in northern Gaza Strip are working or accessible to the population. The immunization programme, among other preventive programmes, has stalled. Patients with chronic diseases lack of access to routine care.

The Arab International Forum for Rehabilitation and Development in the occupied Palestinian territories is taking place in Beirut, 11-14 October. The WHO Representative of the Director-General for Health Action in Crises is participating.

Actions:

WHO organized two emergency coordination meetings in Gaza Strip on 4 and 7 October. All UN agencies, donors and local NGOs participated on a shared analysis of the situation and contributed to a coordinated action plan.

WHO held a coordination meeting in Ramallah, West Bank, on 6 October, during which Maram/USAID presented findings of a survey on the prevalence of Vitamin A deficiency among children in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Findings reveal that 22% of children aged 12-59 months suffer from vitamin A deficiency, and 54% of these have vitamin A levels indicating borderline deficiency.

In conjunction with the Ministry of Health and other health agencies, preparations are underway for the mission of two WHO nutritionist consultants. The objective of their mission is to ensure the conditions for a comprehensive situation analysis and provide the basis for developing a National Nutrition Policy.

Current WHO humanitarian actions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been made possible by 2004 funding from USAID, AGFUND, and the Government of Norway, as well as pre-2004 funding from ECHO.

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