Health Action in Crises
Highlights No 244 – 26 January to 1 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
• Renewed violence on 27 January punctuated the cease-fire. According the MoH, about 1300 people have been killed and almost 5500 injured since 27 December. Children account for roughly one third of the dead and wounded. WHO has been unable to independently verify these details.
• 16 hospitals and 38 primary health care clinics destroyed or damaged since 27 December.
• Hospitals report caseloads have recently decreased, but hospitals continue to treat large numbers of patients that require intensive care. ICRC reported that hospitals remained filled with wounded patients who require further treatment and post-operative care.
• Primary care services such as antenatal care, immunizations and chronic disease management have resumed in 50 Palestinian MoH clinics. UNRWA and UNICEF resumed vaccination programmes in all shelters.
• WHO finalized results of the 'Initial Health Needs Assessment'. Major risks identified include complications from traumatic injuries, treatment of chronic diseases, diarrheal outbreaks from water and food borne diseases, deterioration of health and nutritional status, mental health issues, and reduced access to health care.
• Repairing medical equipment remains a priority, but is dependent on the ability to import spare parts into Gaza.
• WHO, the MoH and NGOs are assessing the damage to health facilities and investigating facilities' current needs.
• WHO and the Palestinian MoH Operations Room will coordinate with doctors and NGOs before deploying more health personnel into Gaza to ensure specialty needs are met.
• The Special Appeal for lifesaving and recovery needs in Gaza will be launched on 2 February in Geneva. On 29 January, the UN Secretary-General valued the appeal at US$613 million, which includes the health sector.