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Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
1 November 2004


Health Action in Crises (WHO/HAC) Highlights - No 33

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.

WEST BANK AND GAZA STRIP

Assessments and events:

UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs told the Security Council on 22 October that continuing violence in the Gaza Strip is of grave concern. He reported that 3,839 Palestinians and 979 Israelis have been killed since September 2000, with tens of thousands more people injured. This concern was reiterated on 26 October, when the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process issued a press release on the same subject.

The Local Aid Coordination Committee (co-chaired by the World Bank, UN Office of the Special Coordinator, and the Representative Office of Norway) has launched a web portal: http://www.lacc.ps to improve coordination of donor community activities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Actions:

WHO's two nutrition consultants met key persons from UN agencies, the Ministry of Health (MoH), donors and NGOs during their 12-day mission. On 26 October, they presented a plan of action to the thematic group on nutrition. The plan envisaged WHO support for the MoH nutrition departments of West Bank and Gaza Strip for the production of documents on the "State of Nutrition" and "Policy on Nutrition" by December 2004. Subsequently, the proposed programme of work focuses on institutional development, technical assistance and coordination.

WHO and the MoH convened a mental health steering committee meeting in Ramallah and Gaza. The meeting covered: updates on the three mental health projects, the need to establish a Task Force for legislation, the outcomes of the Mental Health Service Organization Plan implementation task force meetings, the operational policy for MoH-run community mental health services, the ongoing costing of the mental health system, strategies towards a single mental health directorate, and current in-service training.

WHO/Healthinforum and the MoH organized the first district meeting in Qalqilya, where local authorities and health service providers presented an overview of the district's current health situation and needs, and initiated facility mapping in Nablus, Qalilya, Gaza city, middle and northern Gaza. This information will link to health facilities maps to improve information at the district level.

Regarding food safety, WHO and MoH has organized a workshop on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP). The workshop is taking place in Ramallah between 30 October and 4 November and addresses food inspectors of the MoH and the Ministry of Economics and Supplies. This is the first activity of a training package that also includes food microbiology and food chemistry.

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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