Humanitarian Health Action

Situation in Côte d'Ivoire

Briefing for Executive Committee on Humanitarian Affairs (ECHA)

1. From the daily WHO Situation Report

1.2. General Observations

The political and security situation in Côte d’Ivoire is still highly volatile, with a phase IV in Guiglo and surrounding neighborhoods. Arrangements have been made to declare the security phase 4 for the whole southern part of the country including Abidjan. The humanitarian situation in Cote d’Ivoire continues to be characterized by a steady decline of the living conditions of populations, especially in the northern and western parts of the country. This is due to the overall downturn of the economy, reduced access to basic social services, including primary health care and education, and increased insecurity and violations of human rights. It’s clear that following the last events in Guiglo, when UN premises were looted and completely destroyed and staff relocated, without the intervention of the UN Humanitarian assistance, more than 900,000 people will be exposed to hunger, disease, high mortality and vulnerability in Cote d’Ivoire and especially in the west where there are 2 camps of displaced people. More information is expected from the joint security assessment mission to Guiglo which started on Saturday 28 January to re-establish contacts with the military and civilian authorities, assess the damage to UN property and evaluate the security of displaced and vulnerable persons. The mission will also assess the security needs of local UN and NGO staff still present in the area. It is expected to make security recommendations on how to re-establish safe humanitarian access to the area.

Humanitarian activities implemented so far have successfully contributed in containing the crisis. However, since the outbreak of the crisis in September 2002, funding for the needs of vulnerable groups remains low and unequal between sectors. The Health needs are only partially covered.

The regional dimension of the Ivorian crisis has been neglected at the beginning of the crisis. Actions have been taken since and translated into much needed preparedness activities, particularly in border areas with the Contingency plan CI+ 5 (Cote d’Ivoire plus the surrounding 5 countries)

Main Issues
  • Improve security and protection of populations and humanitarian workers over all the country and particularly those living or working in Abidjan and the Western part of the country.
  • Give special and more focused attention to the West region where social cohesion is being put in jeopardy, and where no UN force is welcome, particularly in Guiglo.
  • Swiftly eradicate the prevailing culture of impunity and take appropriate measures.
  • Ensure protection of livelihoods.
  • Ensure basic services (Health, Foods, water and sanitation, etc…) especially in the camps of displaced population in the western part of the country.

1.3. Coordination response

  • A visit was paid by Members of the CI CT (Cote d’Ivoire Country Team) to the PM (Prime Minister) Konan Banny to express concerns about the humanitarian and security situation going on in Cote d’Ivoire. PM informed the UN on the Ivorian council of ministers willingness to reengage humanitarian activities and to be updated regularly by the UN on the humanitarian situation. The CI CT should reflect on the real handicap of support capacity. This will be discussed with UNDSS. (UN security division New York)
  • Concerning the Cote d’Ivoire Country Team strategy, it was agreed that :
    • The CAP Côte d’Ivoire is still valid. Next step should be to speed up the pledges.
    • The new CERF (Country Emergency Revolving Funds) must be tested and activated for Côte d’Ivoire.
    • ECHO has shown willingness to provide for the funding of immediate needs to its partner agencies, especially the WHO country office in Cote d’Ivoire.
    • The Italian government’s Emergency Fund could be used for Emergency response. Negotiations are on course with OCHA
    • The Japanese Human Security Fund is also a possibility for Health activities.
  • In terms of urgent actions to be taken.Recommendations from the last UN teleconference on Cote d’ Ivoire.
    • OCHA will convene a meeting in February between the CI Country Team and regional donors in Dakar, in order to discuss funding on a regional level.
    • OCHA New York should follow-up on the use of CERF (grant part) to cover the lost resources in Côte d’Ivoire.

2. WHO's Interventions and challenges

2.1. Current interventions

  • The WHO country office in Cote d’Ivoire mobilized funds with ECHO for the control of the yellow fever Outbreak in Bouna. Funds and vaccines are made available to the Ministry of Health and the immunization campaign is going on in the areas affected the outbreak.
  • WHO continues coordinating Health activities in Cote d'Ivoire through the Health and Nutritional Sector Group.
  • The WHO office participates in all Security Management Team(SMT) and UN country team (UNCT) meetings and will be part of the inter-agency missions planned to the affected areas in the west
  • WHO is supporting the Ministry of Health to reinforce the local capacity for a diseases surveillance and control countrywide and essentially in the north occupied by the Forces Nouvelles (FN) forces.
  • 3 trauma kits have been ordered to increase the WHO response capacity within the CI+5 contingency plan.

2.2. Planned activities

  • To reinforce the capacity response of Bouake offices by increasing number of Staff and appropriate materials including Kits, generators, etc...) The Bouake office is serving as a relay and reference office for activities in the north as well as in the west of the country.
  • To take part in the planned interagency evaluation mission in the west ( Guiglo)
  • To discuss with ECHO for the disease sentinel sites surveillance pilot project in the North and the reinforcement of the Health services.
  • To initiate a common project on Health assistance to refugees and IDP's in the West.
  • To review the country profile and update the capacity response

2.3. Challenges

  • WHO is well perceived by National authorities especially the MOH which benefits from material and technical WHO support. WCOCI have a fruitful collaboration with MOH, other UN agencies as well as with national and international NGOs. They all wish to see WHO opening sub-offices with a real capacity response in other places like Man, San Pedro, Bouna, Guiglo, etc…)
  • The main challenge is increasing the number of staff in the field and availability of resources;
  • Collecting accurate health information and sharing it with partners.

As we‘re judged by whether we can respond in such circumstances, the country office is focused on updating the country profile, sharing an idea of which information is available and what is missing , making sure the all health partners use common protocols, case definitions, indicators, and thresholds .
WHO capacity statement, WHO mission statement, monthly report as well a contingency plan are part of the daily tools used by the WCOCI.