Panafrican News Agency

WHO mobilises to help Burkina Faso cope with humanitarian crisis

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) - The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently mobilising experts to step up its response in Burkina Faso to help the country cope with the humanitarian crisis caused, partly, by terrorist attacks, a statement issued to PANA on Monday evening said.

WHO says it will organise preventive and reactive vaccination campaigns, health service delivery strategies as well as the supply of medicines and medical equipment.

"Violence and inter-communal conflicts in the country since 2015 reached an all-time high in the first half of 2019. This has led to a sharp deterioration in the humanitarian situation," the statement said.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as of 10 July, the number of displaced persons in Burkina Faso was estimated at 219,756, 41pc of whom were children and 43.3pc women.

In addition, nearly 25,000 Malian refugees live mainly in the Sahel region, an area in the north of the country, on the border with Mali and Niger.

"This situation has serious consequences for the health sector. The closure or limited functioning of a large number of health facilities has left about 400,000 people without care. These structures are also struggling to cope with the massive influx of displaced people," WHO said.

The organization is also committed to helping to strengthen epidemiological surveillance to ensure early detection of epidemics and other public health threats, both within internally displaced populations and among host communities.

"In response to the worsening humanitarian situation, we are stepping up our operations to strengthen the country's capacity to respond to the crisis and growing health care challenges," the statement quoted WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti as saying.

-0- PANA AAS/JSG/BBA 16July2019