Côte d’Ivoire: stepping up the response to the humanitarian crisis
Deterioration of the health situation
The unsolved political stalemate, the fighting in Abidjan and the western regions and the resulting economic paralysis are affecting the country’s health system.
- The escalating violence in Abidjan is having a severe impact on the supplies of essential medicines. The demand is increasing but the limited existing supplies are not sufficient to respond to needs and are hard to reach due to insecurity and the resulting restrictions on movement, which are affecting both staff and the delivery of supplies.
- Defaulting on staff salaries in central, northern and western Côte d’Ivoire is affecting the quality of health care and driving increasing numbers of health workers from their post.
- The collapse of the health system is also affecting disease surveillance and outbreak response as well as the reliability of the cold chain system.
A recent WHO assessment in the western Dix-Huit Montagnes and Moyen-Cavally regions showed that the district hospitals in Zouan Hounien, Blolequin and Toulepleu, covering all together approximately 382 000 people, are closed due to looting.
The two referral hospitals in Man and Guiglo and the four district hospitals of Bangolo, Biankouma, Danane and Duekue remain operational but have a limited supply of medicines due to lack of funds at the central pharmacy in Abidjan (the main supplier).
Partners such as MSF-Belgium and MSF-France, the International Rescue Committee, Save the Children-France, Action Contre la Faim and local NGOs support functioning health facilities, covering a catchment population of approximately 1.78 million residents and 45 000 IDPs.
WHO response to date
WHO’s presence has been reinforced by the recruitment of two international public health experts to conduct needs assessment and facilitate coordination of health activities. One is based in Man Department to cover the west and the other in Abidjan. The assessment in Abidjan has stopped due to insecurity.
WHO headquarters has sent staff to Côte d'Ivoire to support operations, assessments and coordination.
In collaboration with UNICEF, WHO supported several measles and yellow fever immunization campaigns. Overall, 79 000 children under five were vaccinated against measles and 400 000 people against yellow fever.
WHO is also supporting the population in the affected areas of west by providing essential medicines and supplies to health facilities. Due the escalation of the conflict in Abidjan, support will be extended to the communes of Abobo, and Anyama and Yopougon.
WHO planned interventions
Before the recent upsurge in fighting, WHO had estimated it needed US$ 1.9 million:
- to provide financial incentive to maintain essential staff in health facilities;
- to provide medicines, supplies and logistical support for six months to:
- the regional hospitals in Man and Guiglo and to the district hospitals in Bangolo, Biankouma, Danane and Duekoue to ensure the continuity of heath care;
- the district hospitals in Zouan Hounien, Blolequin, Toulepleu to restore the provision of health care;
- to support health facilities in Abobo, Yopougon and Anyama communes in Abidjan to maintain essential health care to affected people who have limited access to health services;
- to encourage partners to use existing health facilities for the provision of health care rather than create mobile clinics.
Following the rise in violence in Abidjan, a new assessment will be carried out to determine what new needs will need to be fulfilled.
Funds received so far
CERF funds for a total of US$ 891 571 have been received for four different but complementary projects addressing:
- nutritional needs of children, pregnant and lactating women
- blood transfusion safety to help reduce maternal and neonatal mortality
- cholera response in Abidjan
- health care to 2 million affected people.
Part of the total funds received so far is being used to procure supplies.