Humanitarian Health Action

WHO North Kivu Crisis Situation Report No. 14

The latest information on WHO, health partners and health needs during the current crisis in North Kivu:

Main points

  • Cholera cases continue to increase in North Kivu: 15 new recorded cases on 18 November compared to 14 cases a day earlier
  • Kanyabayonga town was deserted 18 November and many houses looted
  • New DRC chief of staff of armed forces appointed on 17 November
  • Laurent Nkunda's troops announce an “unilateral withdrawal" to 40 km on two fronts.

Situation update

  • The humanitarian situation in the conflict zones (Rutshuru, Kiwanja, Rwindi, Kibati, etc.) remains increasingly precarious despite the calm today. In these zones, cholera cases are clearly increasing among the displaced population. On 17-18 November, there were 29 new cases primarily in Rutshuru, with no deaths notified.
  • Under WHO's coordination, a Health Cluster meeting took place 18 November and a distribution plan for10 tons of medicines going to various health zones was adopted:
    • Goma health zone: 6 basic kits
    • Karisimbi health zone: 18 basic kits
    • Rutshuru health zone: 8 basic kits
    • Kirotshe health zone: 18 basic kits
    • Mweso health zone: 18 basic kits
    • Masisi health zone: 15 basic kits
    • Pinga health zone: 40 basic kits
    • Walikale health zone: 36 health kits
  • WHO experts continue evaluation activities on the ground and support medical authorities to reinforce epidemiological monitoring, cleaning of displacement sites, identification and filling of urgent needs.
  • Contacts also took place with the provincial authorities and health partners to improve interventions on the ground.
  • The strategic city of Kanyabayonga, located 100 km north of Goma, was deserted of its inhabitants on 18 November and many houses were looted.
  • The National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) announced on 18 November that it was going to operate “a unilateral withdrawal of troops to a distance of 40 km” from two fronts, namely the Kanyabayonga-Nyanzale axis and the Kabasha-Kiwanja axis “to give a new chance to peace”.

Health situation assessment

  • On 5 November, WHO began an assessment mission in Rutshuru region, currently under the control of the CNDP. Merlin will evaluate the possibility of reopening some of the health centres that it is supporting in the area.
  • There is a serious risk of cholera outbreaks, as the disease is endemic in the area. Suspected cases have been reported in various health centres and on 4 November, six cases were admitted in Kirotshe general hospital and one in Goma hospital. Oxfam-GB is supporting the chlorination of water supplies.

WHO and other partners response

  • WHO and UNICEF, in support of the provincial Ministry of Health, continue their close cooperation in a measles vaccination campaign in North Kivu. After Kirotshe and Kibati, the next stage of the polio and measles vaccination campaign will target Masisi.
  • On 18 November WHO chaired an extraordinary Health Cluster meeting in Goma to evaluate medical activities conducted between 12 and 17 November and to implement a distribution plan for medicines. The participants recommend that WHO and the provincial health inspection authorities:
    • guarantee the efficacy of free health care for three months.
    • follow-up on the use of medicines and accelerate the process of distribution to beneficiaries.
  • UNFPA has distributed medicine kits and materials for basic obstetric care to the Goma provincial reference hospital. Also, 500 childbirth kits were given to MERLIN to support the Rutshuru health zone.
  • The health centres of Kibumba and Kibati were supported with maternity kits and 30 000 condoms were distributed to the same zones.

Urgent needs

  • Humanitarian access is vital to reach the displaced and provide humanitarian assistance.
For more information, please contact:

Dr Matthieu Kamwa, WHO Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Dr Brice Ahounou, Health Action in Crises Focal Point

Mr Eugène Kabambi, Communication Officer, EHA, Kinshasa

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