Japan increases support for post-quake Haitian healthcare
28 April, 2010 -- The Government of Japan is stepping up its efforts to improve health care for millions of Haitians affected by January's devastating earthquake. Japan has given an additional US$3.5 million to support the Pan-American Health Organization/World Health Organization's (PAHO/WHO) emergency response and recovery efforts, taking the overall amount of Japanese financial support to WHO to US$4.5 million.
"Japan's support will provide a tremendous boost to the health sector's efforts to prevent people from falling ill to diseases during the months ahead, and to resume essential health care services for Haitians," says Dr Eric Laroche, Assistant Director-General for WHO Health Action in Crises.
Japan's initial contribution of US$1 million was given to support health activities in the area of Leogane, a part of Haiti that suffered 80% destruction. Almost US$2 million of the new funding will be used to reactivate basic health services severely damaged in the earthquake. The remainder is for preventing and controlling potential disease outbreaks in health facilities, such as acute respiratory infections and diarrhoea.
Hospitals and clinics that survived the earthquake have been overwhelmed by tens of thousands of people seeking emergency treatment for injuries sustained in the disaster. With more than 130 health facilities damaged or destroyed, they have also been overburdened by the continued need to provide routine care, such as dialysis, maternal health and HIV and cancer treatment. Haiti's Post-Disaster Needs Assessment has outlined access to quality healthcare as an essential component of a rebuilt health system.
To date, PAHO/WHO has helped prevent disease outbreaks through vaccination campaigns and a disease early warning system. More than 500 000 of Haiti's most vulnerable adults and children have been immunized against a range of life-threatening diseases, including measles, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). Health officials remain on high alert as the rainy season has the potential to be a major factor in communicable disease cases.
Hundreds of tonnes of medical supplies have been distributed to healthcare providers free-of-charge through the central drug store in Port-au-Prince, known as PROMESS, which is managed by PAHO/WHO. Almost 100 staff were employed to sort through hundreds of containers of medicines and supplies flown to Haiti from around the world.
In February, WHO and Health Cluster partners requested US$54 million in the revised Haiti Consolidated Appeal to deliver urgently required healthcare services and to support the health sector's recovery during a one-year period. So far, just over 43% of that has been funded.
Health Action in Crises