Humanitarian Health Action

WHO medical supplies arrive in Libya

Two trucks carrying WHO staff and general medical supplies crossing the Libyan border from Egypt.
WHO/Michel Tomaszek
Two trucks carrying WHO staff and general medical supplies crossing the Libyan border from Egypt.

4 March 2011--Two trucks carrying WHO staff and general medical supplies crossed the Libyan border from Egypt today. The material, funded by Norway and Italy, consists of 25 kits with trauma supplies to permit 1000 surgical interventions and treatment of 500 surgical patients for 10 days and will be used in health facilities in the eastern Libyan city Benghazi.

Another shipment of 10 kits with trauma supplies for 500 surgical interventions and 5 Interagency Emergency Health Kits with supplies and material to meet the health needs of 50 000 people is expected to arrive at the new humanitarian logistics hub in Djerba, Tunisia. The material will be pre-positioned for use in Libya once access is established.

Disease surveillance at borders

Since the start of civil unrest in Libya, according to IOM, 172 874 people, mainly migrant workers, have left Libya to date. As thousands of people are still located on the both sides of the Tunisia-Libya border, humanitarian efforts are focused on providing access to adequate food, shelter, sanitation, and health care services.

WHO teams at both borders are coordinating efforts with all health humanitarian partners there, monitoring the public health situation and supporting disease surveillance.

  • In Egypt, WHO is working with Ministry of Health at the Saloum border crossing to monitor the health situation and facilitate movement of health resources, people and material, to Libya.
  • In Tunisia, WHO is working with Ministry of Health to monitor the health situation and strengthen disease surveillance at the Ras Adjir border crossing. An operations centre has been established at Zarzis to support health coordination.

The Assistant Director-General for Health Action in Crises at WHO, Geneva, Dr Eric Laroche arrived in Tunis on 28 February for high-level discussions with counterparts in government and other agencies. The ADG traveled to the border to assess the situation there.

Coordination efforts

The Assistant Regional Director of WHO's Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean is part of a joint United Nations rapid-assessment mission that reached Benghazi yesterday.

The United Nations is preparing a Flash Appeal, which it plans to launch in the coming days. WHO is discussing different health scenarios with partners and coordinating the preparation of the health component of the Appeal.

Health partners consider that main health sector interventions will be:

  • Triage, injury, trauma care and medical evacuation;
  • Maintenance of basic services, with a special focus on non-communicable diseases, mental health and reproductive health;
  • Establishment of an early warning and response system for epidemic prone diseases to detect and control outbreaks in the affected population; including mass vaccination campaigns, if necessary;
  • Coordination of the International Humanitarian Response for health;
  • Emergency nutrition rapid response.

For more information:

Tarik Jasarevic
Media and Advocacy Officer
Health Action in Crises
WHO, Geneva
Telephone: +41 797 472 756
Email: jasarevict@who.int

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