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WHO launches funding appeal for greater Horn of Africa prompted by food crisis

The World Health Organization reported that over 80 million people in the seven countries in the region are estimated to be food insecure

WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a $123.7m funding appeal in response to urgent health needs in the greater Horn of Africa as the region faces an ‘unprecedented’ food crisis.

WHO reported that over 80 million people in the seven countries in the region – Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda – are estimated to be food insecure, and over 37.5 million people are classified as being in Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) phase 3 – a stage of crisis where people have to sell their possessions in order to feed themselves and their families.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said: “Hunger is a direct threat to the health and survival of millions of people in the greater Horn of Africa, but it also weakens the body’s defences and opens the door to disease.

“WHO is looking to the international community to support our work on the ground responding to this dual threat, providing treatment for malnourished people, and defending them against infectious diseases.”

The funds will be used to carry out urgent measures to protect lives, WHO said, including procuring and ensuring the supply of life-saving medicines and equipment, supporting the capacity of countries to detect and respond to disease outbreaks, filling gaps in healthcare provisions and providing treatment to severely malnourished children.

The situation is set to worsen with the expected failure of the upcoming rainy season. Avoidable deaths among children and women in childbirth have also already been reported.

WHO has reported outbreaks of measles in six of the seven countries, against a background of low vaccination coverage, and countries fighting both cholera and meningitis outbreaks, as hygiene conditions worsen and clean water becomes scarce.

The region already has an estimated 4.2 million refugees and asylum seekers, a figure expected to increase as more people are forced to leave their homes to find food and water.

Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said: “Ensuring people have enough to eat is central. Ensuring that they have safe water is central. But in situations like these, access to basic health services is also central.

“Services like therapeutic feeding programmes, primary health care, immunisation, safe deliveries and mother and child services can be the difference between life and death for those caught up in these awful circumstances.”

Article by
Emily Kimber

5th August 2022

From: Healthcare

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