WHO Team Assesses Medical Situation In Cote d’Ivoire; EU Doubles Aid Pledge

A WHO team has visited the western region of Cote d’Ivoire to assess damage to the medical system and identify ways to improve access to care, following months of violence after the country’s presidential election last year, U.N. News Centre reports.

Hospitals are shut down, short-staffed or lacking sufficient supplies, and hygiene and sanitation conditions are deteriorating in some areas crowded by internally displaced persons, WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva, according to the news service (4/19).

Some urban areas are at risk of drinking water shortages, IRIN reports. With more than 6,000 cases of cholera reported in neighboring Ghana, the risk of shortages is “particularly worrying,” Francois Bellet, a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) specialist in UNICEF’s West and Central Africa regional office, said, according to IRIN (4/20).

Jasarevic said the WHO and its partner organizations so far have received “only 28 percent of the $6.5 million requested to address the health needs of those affected by the crisis,” U.N. News Centre reports.

On Tuesday, the European Commission doubled its aid pledge to Cote d’Ivoire to 60 million euros ($87.2 million), according to a European Union press release. The EU made the decision based on “an extended need assessment” undertaken by a team from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), the release states. The funding “will help improve conditions by providing shelter, food assistance, healthcare, water and sanitation, and protection activities, to both people in need inside the country and the refugees in neighbouring countries,” according to the release (4/19).

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