Donors making a difference in earthquakes and other complex health emergencies

WHO’s special Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE) enabled it to immediately start shipping life-saving supplies to Türkiye and the Syrian Arab Republic after a devastating earthquake struck the countries on 6 February, affecting an estimated 26 million people.

“These life-saving health supplies are critical for treating the wounded and providing urgent care to all those affected by this tragedy in both countries,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who has spent several days meeting with survivors and response teams. “Survivors are facing freezing conditions, continuing aftershocks and very limited access to shelter, food, water, heat and medical care. We’re in a race against time to save lives.”?

So far, WHO has released more than $US 16 million from the CFE for the earthquake response and has flown in more than 100 metric tons of trauma and medical supplies. Twenty-five Member States have contributed to the CFE since its inception in 2015.

WHO has also launched a flash appeal to save lives in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and to minimize the mental and physical health consequences to come. The funds gathered will help restore health services, prioritizing areas and communities with the greatest health needs. Anyone can contribute to the appeal through the WHO Foundation.

As the earthquake struck, WHO was already responding to an unprecedented number of complex health emergencies related to armed conflicts, natural disasters and disease outbreaks. This week’s issue brings reports from Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Türkiye, Ukraine and Yemen.

Also see:

WHO sends health supplies to reach 400 000 people impacted by the earthquakes in Türkiye and the Syrian Arab Republic

WHO launches US$ 2.54 billion funding appeal for 2023 to help a record number of people in complex, intersecting health emergencies

Ukraine builds its capacity to provide health services in the event of a nuclear emergency

WHO is helping Ukraine prepare for nuclear emergencies by training thousands of first responders on patient care and issuing an updated list of medicines that countries should have on hand to treat exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation.

“In radiation emergencies, people may be exposed to radiation at doses ranging from negligible to life threatening. Governments need to make treatments available for those in need – fast,” said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Assistant Director-General a.i, Healthier Populations Division.

Since the war began one year ago, WHO has delivered more than 2000 metric tons of medical supplies to Ukraine, among them, power generators to keep hospitals and clinics functioning, oxygen machinery, surgical supplies and medicines. In January, WHO donated 26 ambulances to Ukraine’s health ministry, with funding support from the European Union.

Read the full stories on WHO’s critical medicines list for radiological and nuclear emergencies, Ukraine’s training for chemical preparedness and response, and the new donation of ambulances.

WHO sets up health camp in a long-inaccessible area of Somalia

Munira Aden Saleh was one of the first medical professionals to enter an agrarian area in the south of the country after armed groups were driven out in October.

“Residents, including women and children, were suffering from multiple diseases, including diarrhoea and measles, intestinal worms, pneumonia, and bronchitis,” she said. “Our teams had to set up a temporary camp inside the district to immediately start outpatient consultations.”

Since October, medical teams have provided medical consultations to nearly 4000 residents of Jamame, arranged treatment for more than 1800 children with severe malnutrition, treated about 2600 cases of diarrhoea, vaccinated nearly 6000 children, and more.

WHO worked with partners including UNICEF and the World Food Programme to provide an integrated response. Read about the new health camp

More from Somalia: Preventing cholera during crisis

WHO and partners launched a campaign in Somalia in late January to vaccinate nearly 1 million children and pregnant women against cholera, an intestinal disease that poses a special danger to those who have become malnourished during one of the worst droughts in the country’s history.

“We are not waiting to let the situation spiral out of our hands,” said Federal Minister of Health Dr Ali Haji Adan. “The government and the partners are well prepared, and this special campaign has been designed and launched in collaboration with WHO and UNICEF to help prevent unnecessary morbidities and mortalities in high-risk areas.” Read more

Also see: Japan provides grants for health services in Somalia and Sudan

South Sudan health workers go door to door to prevent measles amid humanitarian crisis

WHO and partners have responded to measles outbreaks in South Sudan with a vaccination campaign geared toward small children.

Measles and other infectious diseases can thrive when emergencies – such as South Sudan’s floods – displace communities, disrupt already-fragile health care systems and shrink food supplies. Measles has killed at least 40 people in South Sudan since the country declared an outbreak in December.

Before the campaign, WHO and partners mobilized community volunteers to inform parents about the importance of measles vaccination, which led to a higher turnout among children. Read more

More WHO news from the greater Horn of Africa:

Djibouti launches the fourth phase of its polio vaccination campaign

Ethiopia kicks off an integrated measles vaccination campaign

Sudan launches a catch-up campaign against polio and yellow fever

Keeping Yemen’s public health laboratories equipped and operating

WHO has renewed its partnership with the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) to supply Yemen’s health system with medicines, supplies and equipment for child, reproductive and maternal health, dialysis, noncommunicable diseases and general care.

Eight years of armed conflict have crippled Yemen’s health facilities and laboratories, lowering the quality and availability of many essential health services.

“We have been providing services intermittently since I began working here,” said Diana Nasser Mohammed, a medical laboratory assistant since 2011 at the National Center for Central Public Health Laboratories in Aden. “Thanks to the support we have received, our services are almost without interruptions.” [See the full photo essay

](**The year in focus: top health emergencies of 2022 in the Eastern Mediterranean region**

When last week’s earthquakes struck Türkiye and the Syrian Arab Republic, WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region was already responding to the health consequences of floods, droughts, other earthquakes, armed conflicts, bomb blasts, attacks on health care and a sharp rise in disease outbreaks.

See the year in photos and stories, with reports from Afghanistan, the greater Horn of Africa, Libya, Pakistan, occupied Palestinian territory, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

Source: World Health Organization