Kathmandu, May 7: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday said it was “very concerned” about a disease outbreak in quake-hit Nepal. On a visit to Nepal, Poom Khetrapal Singh, WHO regiol director for South-East Asia, said they have
a four-week window to pre-position medical supplies in affected districts and strengthen the country’s water, sanitation and hygiene systems to shield it against the threat of disease outbreaks. “We are very concerned about the increased risk of communicable diseases, including diarrhoea, in areas where hygiene and sanitation systems are disrupted,” Singh said in a statement. She said they were concerned over disease outbreaks, including water-borne and vector-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria, along with acute respiratory infections. The WHO official informed that Nepal’s disease outbreak early warning and response system was now in place and being supported by the WHO, which has trained staff working in all the affected districts in support of their Nepalese government counterparts. She further said more needed to be done to protect the health of the Nepalese people, including ramping up disease outbreak surveillance and response system, providing large quantities of medical supplies, and supporting the recovery of the health system shattered by the disaster. The WHO has allotted over $1.1 million for the emergency operations in Nepal.
A sum of $175,000 was released within hours of the earthquake from the South-East Asia Regiol Health Emergency Fund to meet immediate fincial needs and fill critical gaps in the aftermath of the April 25 disaster. (ians)