Ebola challenges West African countries as WHO ramps up response
The emergence of an Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa in 2014 has become a challenge to the 3 countries involved, as the Governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone work intensively with WHO and other partners to ramp up a series of measures to control the outbreak.
Since March 2014, more than 600 cases of Ebola and over 390 deaths have been reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. While the number of suspected, probable and confirmed cases and deaths changes rapidly, the outbreak is causing concern among health authorities because the deadly disease is being transmitted in communities and in health-care settings, and it has appeared in cities as well as rural and border areas. The disease, which causes severe haemorrhaging and can kill up to 90% of those infected, is spread by direct contact with the blood and body fluids of infected animals or people.
WHO delivers more than 125 tons of medical supplies in Aleppo
Over the past 2 weeks WHO delivered 2 shipments with more than 125 tons of medical equipment and medicines to health providers in Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic – in both government-controlled and in opposition-controlled areas. All shipments contained surgical materials, medicines to treat chronic and infectious diseases, infant incubators, ventilators and intensive care unit (ICU) beds.
The first shipment containing 26 tons of medical supplies to treat more than 55 000 patients was delivered on 24 December 2013 to the Aleppo Teaching Hospital. The second shipment containing 80 tons of supplies to treat more than 213 000 patients was delivered to NGOs, local health authorities and to the Syrian Red Crescent Society (SRCS) in Aleppo’s contested areas on 3 January 2014. In addition, an estimated 118 000 patients can be treated with another shipment of 20 tons of supplies which were delivered to the Syrian Ministry of Health in Aleppo.
Rebuilding shattered health system an urgent priority in next phase of Typhoon Haiyan response
One month after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, WHO identifies as top priorities expanding essential health services, reviving clinics and hospitals, preventing disease and scaling up mental health services as the relief effort shifts from emergency to early recovery programmes.
The typhoon, one of the strongest ever recorded, tore through the central Philippines on 8 November, sweeping away villages, killing over 5700 people, wreaking havoc on the lives of more than 11 million others and damaging the majority of medical facilities.
Disasters, emergencies and dead bodies
Breastfeeding is life-saving for babies in Philippines typhoon emergency
UNICEF and WHO today called on those involved in the response to the Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) disaster to promote and protect breastfeeding to avoid unnecessary illness and deaths of children.
The estimated 12 000 babies to be born in the worst-affected areas this month need to be exclusively breastfed, meaning that they get nothing but breast milk, which protects them from potentially deadly infections. Around one third of babies in the area born before the disaster who are less than 6 months old are already exclusively breastfed, and 9 out of 10 were at least partially breastfed before the emergency. The mothers who were doing at least some breastfeeding need to be supported to transition to exclusive breastfeeding.
Children in typhoon-hit Tacloban, Philippines, receive vaccines against measles, polio
Children in Tacloban - the city hit hardest by Typhoon Haiyan - were today vaccinated against measles and polio in the first phase of a mass campaign by the Government of the Philippines with support from WHO, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other partners. They also received Vitamin A supplements to help improve their immunity against infections.
Over 30 000 children are expected to be reached by the campaign which is taking place at fixed sites in evacuation centres and in communities using mobile health teams.
WHO and the Philippine Government launch mass vaccination campaign
WHO and the Philippine Department of Health have launched a vaccination campaign to prevent outbreaks of measles and polio among survivors of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).
“Large numbers of non- or under-vaccinated children are at risk of contracting and spreading infectious diseases such as measles – particularly in congested areas where the homeless are now living,” says Dr Julie Hall, WHO Representative in the Philippines. “Measles can be deadly, especially in young children.”
Foreign medical teams delivering care in damaged areas
More than 10 days after Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the central Philippines, WHO is continuing to coordinate the deployment of foreign medical teams with an immediate focus on injured and traumatized survivors and an eye towards the people's longer-term health needs.
"People in the affected areas still need help with their injuries, especially those in isolated areas who we are only just beginning to reach, and we will continue working until they receive help," says Dr Julie Hall, WHO's Representative in the Philippines. "But we're also beginning to put a greater emphasis on rehabilitation and the gap in normal health care that was created by the storm. For example, people with diabetes or tuberculosis need access to their medications, and pregnant women need a safe place to give birth."
WHO and partners begin reaching people in need on many Philippine islands hit by typhoon
WHO is working with the Government of the Philippines and international partners to reach survivors of Typhoon Haiyan who need medical care. The full extent of the disaster is becoming increasingly clear, with dozens of separate sites needing assistance.
At least seven provinces have been hit by the disaster (Samar, Leyte, Cebu, Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan and Palawan) and a humanitarian hub is being established in each. But the scope of the disaster could be larger still. There are concerns that some 20 smaller islands with remote communities may have been impacted by the typhoon as well. This makes delivering relief exceedingly complicated.
Relief arriving in the Philippines, challenges for delivery persist
WHO and partners are getting people and supplies into the Philippines, but reaching those in need remains challenging.
Teams of WHO and other emergency responders have been positioned or are en route to the areas hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan. Medicines and healthcare supplies have arrived in Cebu and are now waiting to be sent to areas in highest need.