“More than 12,000 have been infected and 125 people have died over the past two months in Pakistan after coming down with dengue fever, a health department spokesman said Friday,” CNN reports (Habib, 10/1). Citing the same numbers, WHO spokesperson Tarek Jasarevic said the agency is providing support for “case management, community mobilization, vector control and public awareness campaigns,” according to the U.N. News Centre. “Last year, 11,024 confirmed cases of dengue fever and 40 deaths were reported in Pakistan, but this year the number of cases has climbed to 12,466,” the news service writes (9/30).
Health In Emergency Situations/Humanitarian Assistance
Haitian health authorities on Friday said the death toll from cholera has risen to 6,435 since October and that “the number of people infected with cholera almost reached half a million, although the ministry repeated the epidemic was decreasing,” Xinhua reports (9/30). U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos wrapped up a three-day visit to Haiti on Friday, saying the “number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) still in camps in Haiti after their homes were destroyed by last year’s catastrophic earthquake has declined from 1.5 million to 600,000, but hardship in the settlements has not eased,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “Limited funding has led to a decline in the number of humanitarian agencies working in key sectors, such as water and sanitation and camp management. Hundreds of latrines are now unusable and overflow, especially during the current rainy season, posing significant health risks, even as efforts to keep the cholera epidemic at bay continue,” the news service writes (9/30).
“The U.N. on Wednesday said food assistance has reached nearly half the Somalis in need, [and] it warned cases of diarrhea and cholera could spike with the seasonal rains expected in October,” the Associated Press reports (9/28). “However, the report released Tuesday by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that four million Somalis remain in crisis nationwide, and that 750,000 people risk death in the Horn of Africa nation within the next four months,” according to VOA News.
“Philippines authorities are warning of possible water-borne disease outbreaks following Typhoon Nesat,” which ripped through the country on Tuesday causing widespread damage including power outages, flooding and landslides, IRIN reports (9/28). According to Reuters, at least 21 people have been killed by the storm and its consequences (Mogato, 9/28).
PRI’s “The World” recently spoke with Matt Ellingson, director of Program Development at Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization, who was part of a mission to North Korea this month during which five U.S.-based, non-governmental organizations were allowed to send observers to the country to monitor delivery of aid to areas affected by severe floods this past summer. The group “came away concerned about widespread malnutrition and starvation in North Korea” and “is now calling for an urgent humanitarian intervention,” “The World” reports. The radio show provides audio of the interview and a link to a “factfile” on the North Korea food crisis published in The Telegraph earlier this month (9/23).
Twenty aid agencies on Wednesday issued an open letter (.pdf) “urg[ing] the international community to change its approach to Somalia ‘and enhance diplomatic engagement with the parties to the conflict, to ensure the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid,'” particularly before the rainy season brings the threat of disease, IRIN reports (9/21).
The health care system in the refugee camps in Dadaab, Kenya, which were established “long ago,” are “currently challenged and stretched by the recent influx of refugees,” UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimihen writes in this BMJ Group Blogs entry, noting that efforts are underway “to strengthen the existing system with supplies [and] human resources at clinic and outreach levels” to increase access. UNFPA is working “to improve reproductive health care in Dadaab and in accessible parts of Somalia through the provision of related life-saving medical supplies and equipment, which will lead to a reduction in adult and child morbidity and death,” he writes.
With the retreat of the Islamist extremist group al-Shabab out of the Somali capital of Mogadishu, where famine is threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, “the U.N.-backed peacekeeping force can and should be quickly expanded,” according to Somalia’s prime minister and the U.N. envoy to the nation, in order to “allow the force to move out from the capital to secure routes for aid,” a Washington Post editorial states.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday expressed concern over widespread flooding in Pakistan and “pledged the United Nations’ continued commitment to supporting the government in its efforts to respond to the humanitarian needs of the more than five million people in the affected areas,” the U.N. News Centre reports. In a statement, Ban said he is “particularly worried about the situation in the southern area of Sindh province where people are in urgent need of food, shelter, safe water and access to health services,” according to the news service.
Women Urged To Use Clinics For Birthing, Family Planning Counseling In Refugee Camps Along Somalia-Kenya Border
IRIN examines how community health workers and international aid organizations, such as Medecins Sans Frontieres and the International Rescue Committee, are working to provide safe and adequate health facilities in refugee camps on the Kenya-Somalia border where women can give birth.