This month’s Highlights first features the ongoing response in Pakistan and the WHO Director-General’s visit on 27 October, as well as on the cholera outbreak in Haiti. It then provides a brief review on the preparations ahead of the 2011 referendum in Southern Sudan, on the situation in Niger, where food insecurity has reached a new pitch, and on the conflict in Guinea, where recurrent violence may find a conclusion with the upcoming elections. Short updates on Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan close the country updates section.
A segment dedicated to funding follows, providing an overview on the funds received and distributed through HAC headquarters between 1 January and 24 October 2010.
Finally it provides news on the Global health Cluster most recent activities, the latest inter-agency issues, the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction and links to the WHO Regional Offices reports on crises and emergencies.
The complexity of wide-reaching disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti and the floods in Pakistan require coordinated response and recovery efforts. Support systems must be in place to identify and respond to health threats.
In Pakistan, technological and epidemiological support had been provided to Health Cluster partners to ensure quality of care for life- threatening diseases like dengue and Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, which were confirmed in the country in October.
In Haiti, the disease surveillance system, established after the earthquake, alerted health partners to the initial cholera cases in October's outbreak. The consequences of a disaster such as the Haiti earthquake, including disruption of water and sanitation systems, or the displacement of populations to camps – can increase the risk of cholera transmission. Health partners are using the health services established after the earthquake, community mobilization and education on sanitation and safe water in a coordinated response to this cholera outbreak.
The way forward in these complex crises must include the integration of early recovery efforts with reconstruction strategy.