Humanitarian Health Action

Health Cluster Situation Report No. 16 - 20 November 2008

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

Main points

  • WHO sending medical kits to Beni, North Kivu;
  • 486 cholera cases, including nine deaths and 148 measles cases, including two deaths, reported between 10-16 November;
  • Humanitarian corridors needed;
  • WHO sends two health kits to Beni and provides 100 litres of IV fluid to the Virunga referral hospital for cholera treatment.

Situation update

  • As of 20 November, security remained tense in North Kivu. Armed clashes were reported in the morning in the villages of Katoro and Nyongera, about 5 km north of Kiwanja and 75 km north of Goma. UN security sources indicate the attacks were between Mai Mai militiamen and CNDP forces.
  • The British Foreign Secretary Mark Malloch-Brown travelled to Rwanda to meet President Paul Kagame after a three-day visit to the DRC.
  • In Goma, MONUC continues rehabilitating roads to allow the relocation of the 65 000 displaced people currently in Kibati I and II camps to the Mugunga III camp, further from the front line for better protection and assistance.

Health situation assessment

  • Provincial health inspectors continue to report cholera cases. On 20 November, 26 new cases were notified: 14 in the cholera treatment centre of Rutshuru referral hospital, eight in the cholera treatment centre of Kibati I camp and four in the cholera treatment centre of the Virunga referral hospital.
  • Between 10 and 16 November, 486 suspected cholera cases were reported (with nine deaths) in North Kivu. WHO-led field investigations established that more than 70% of cases were reported among displaced people. Efforts have been taken to improve access to drinking water, as well as personal and collective hygiene.
  • During the same period, 148 measles cases and two related deaths were reported. The Masisi health zone was the most affected area, with 138 cases and the two deaths. A vaccination campaign is planned to begin next week.

Health cluster response

  • WHO and other UN agencies participated in a meeting of the provincial inter-agency committee that was also attended by a Spanish Government Minister currently in Goma. WHO also participated in the epidemiological surveillance meeting to evaluate recommendations and follow up on the provincial epidemiological situation. The increasing incidence of cholera and measles cases in North Kivu was a key issue for discussion.
  • WHO provided 100 litres of IV fluid (Ringer lactate), to replenish out-of-stock materials at the cholera treatment centre of the Goma's Virunga referral hospital.
  • On 20 November, WFP distributed food supplies to the Mugunga IDP camp west of Goma.
  • In Kinshasa, the country Health Cluster, coordinated by WHO, met on 20 November and reviewed the humanitarian situation in the Kivu and Orientale provinces. Also discussed were the activities and interventions of the Health Cluster partners and the evaluation of the needed responses.
  • The above review revealed that population displacements continue in the three provinces and that health sector operations had resumed following the end of health workers strike. It was agreed to prepare a "Who Doing What and Where" map and distribution plan for medicines and supplies was approved. This plan ensures the distribution of 10 tons of medicines provided by Belgium to the following health zones:
    • Goma
    • Karisimbi
    • Rutshuru
    • Kirotshe
    • Mweso
    • Masisi
    • Pinga
    • Walikale
  • The Health Cluster meeting also recommended that HIV prevention activities be integrated to humanitarian interventions.

Urgent needs

  • Protection of displaced people as well as of humanitarian staff.
  • Opening of safe humanitarian corridors.
© WHO/Chris Black
For more information, please contact:

Dr Matthieu Kamwa, WHO Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Email: kamwam@cd.afro.who.int

Dr Brice Ahounou, Health Action in Crises Focal Point
Email: ahounoub@cd.afro.who.int

Mr Eugène Kabambi, Communication Officer, EHA, Kinshasa
Email: kabambie@cd.afro.who.int

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