Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Humanitarian’ Category

Yemen’s humanitarian crisis can turn into a catastrophe with fighting at the port city of Hudaida

LA Times

  • Since early 2015, more than 10,000 people have been killed
  • Since 2015, some 2 million have been driven from their homes because of the fighting between a Saudi-led coalition and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
  • Some 22 million people, rely on aid
  • 8.4 million of them are facing famine.
  • The country has been plagued by the largest cholera epidemic in recorded history, with 1 million suspected cases
  • Meanwhile, Hudaida is home to about 600,000 people and a port responsible for 70 percent of imports into Yemen
  • The fighting in and around the port city could ignite a humanitarian catastrophe.

An Arab military coalition invaded Yemen’s main Red Sea port on Wednesday, worsening what is already the world’s most severe humanitarian disaster by disrupting the delivery of food and other supplies to millions of Yemenis.

NY Times

The Venezuelan health system: A total collapse


“…..a 65% increase in maternal mortality and a 30% increase in infant mortality, with 11 466 infants dying during 2016. It also revealed that while Venezuela had been the first country in the world to eliminate malaria in populated areas, this and other diseases such as diphtheria, which had previously been controlled, had returned in several outbreaks.…..most laboratory services and hospital nutrition services are only available intermittently or are completely inoperative. Shortages of items such as basic medicines, catheters, surgical supplies, and infant formula are highlighted in the survey; 14% of intensive care units have been shut down because they are unable to operate and 79% of the facilities analysed have no water at all.……..”


Emergency Trauma Response to the Mosul Offensive, 2016-2017

Fox, H., Stoddard, A. & Davidoff, J. (2018). Emergency trauma response to the Mosul offensive, 2016-2017: A review of issues and challenges. Humanitarian Outcomes, March.

“…..Despite certain weaknesses and limitations, the WHO-coordinated response succeeded in implementing a
large-scale, military-style referral chain system in highly difficult conditions and unquestionably saved lives.
An independent analysis of the data performed by a research team at John Hopkins Centre for Humanitarian
Health estimates that the WHO-coordinated trauma referral pathway saved between 1,500 and 1,800 lives –
approximately 600-1,330 civilians and the remaining majority combatants.

The total number of people treated is impossible to independently verify. WHO reporting cites that as of 7 August
2017, ‘some 20,449 people from Mosul city were referred through the established trauma pathways’.  But these
figures include patients being counted multiple times as they passed through the referral pathway. The Iraqi
Department of Health estimated that 10,000 to 12,000 ‘medical activities’ were performed…….Despite these constraints, between October 2016 and November 2018, MSF performed 20,334 emergency room
consultations (of which 4,135 were ‘war trauma’3 cases and 1,594 were ‘red’ cases4) and 31,242 primary health care
consultations. These emergency room and primary health consultations resulted in 3,601 surgical interventions,
1,178 deliveries and 2,647 inpatient admissions……”

 case study by Johns Hopkins. :  Document

IRIN opinion

The Greek island of Lesbos: Migration crisis

NY Times

“…..Some 5,500 people are detained in Moria, about 2,500 more than the camp was designed to hold……..

Rain soaks through the tents, and there is a lack of electricity and hot water in the showers, even in winter. The public toilets and showers are soiled with feces. As bad as the food is, it often runs out. The lines — for everything — are endless. Fights break out constantly. Violence, theft and rape are constant threats……”


WHO renews its call for the protection of health workers and for immediate access to besieged populations.


Seven years of Syria’s health tragedy

News release

After seven years of conflict in Syria, WHO has renewed its call for the protection of health workers and for immediate access to besieged populations.

Attacks on the health sector have continued at an alarming level in the past year. The 67 verified attacks on health facilities, workers, and infrastructure recorded during the first two months of 2018 amount to more than 50% of verified attacks in all of 2017.

“This health tragedy must come to an end,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Every attack shatters communities and ripples through health systems, damaging infrastructure and reducing access to health for vulnerable people. WHO calls on all parties to the conflict in Syria to immediately halt attacks on health workers, their means of transport and equipment, hospitals and other medical facilities.”

Health systems are being attacked in the very places where they are needed most. An estimated 2.9 million Syrians live in UN-declared hard-to-reach and besieged locations. WHO is providing health assistance to many of these areas but lacks consistent access.

In East Ghouta, nearly 400,000 people have lived under siege for half a decade. Basic health supplies have all but run out, and there are now more than 1,000 people in need of immediate medical evacuation.

“It is unacceptable that children, women, and men are dying from injuries and illnesses that are easily treatable and preventable,” said Dr Tedros.

Critical medical supplies are also routinely removed from inter-agency convoys to hard-to-reach and besieged locations. Earlier this month, more than 70% of the health supplies intended to reach East Ghouta were removed by authorities and sent back to the WHO warehouse. The items removed are desperately needed to save lives and reduce suffering.

Seven years of conflict have devastated Syria’s healthcare system. More than half of the country’s public hospitals and healthcare centres are closed or only partially functioning and more than 11.3 million people need health assistance, including 3 million living with injuries and disabilities.

WHO is committed to ensuring that people across Syria have access to essential, life-saving healthcare. Last year, WHO delivered over 14 million treatments across the country, including through cross-border and cross-line services.

“The suffering of the people of Syria must stop. We urge all parties to the conflict to end attacks on health, to provide access to all those in Syria who need health assistance, and, above all, to end this devastating conflict,” said Dr Tedros.

Venezuelan health crisis: At hospitals in border cities like Cucuta, patients are packed side by side on stretchers that spill into hallways, not much unlike the deplorable conditions they fled back home and authorities project that Venezuelan admissions to Colombian hospitals could double in 2018 and say the nation’s already overstretched public health system is unprepared to handle the sudden swell.


Nursing Now aims to improve health globally by raising the profile and status of nurses worldwide – influencing policymakers and supporting nurses themselves to lead, learn and build a global movement.


Uganda, where the Government has joined with nursing, health and academic organisations to set out a Nursing Now road map for developing nursing and midwifery. This work is laying the groundwork for Nursing Now Africa.

Singapore, where the Government is running a campaign to promote nursing as an exciting career. They are creating new opportunities for nurses, celebrating their achievements and engaging nurses at the forefront of developing community services.

Narayana Health in India, where the founder Dr Devi Shetty and the Board have recognised the enhanced role that nurses can play and established a development programme for nurses. They are using nurses to lead the way in extending their services into Africa.


Rwanda, where a private organisation is working with the government to support nurse entrepreneurs providing vital services in the most rural areas.

Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paolo, Brazil, where nurses are engaging the many men who do not attend the basic health units for consultations. They are reaching out by going to bars to talk to people about how they can take better care of their health.

Jamaica, where the Government is working with partners to tackle violence against women and children as the first programme of Nursing Now Jamaica.

Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders (CAPABLE) in the USA, which is providing a multi-disciplinary service to support elderly people to live in their own homes.

Syrian enclave: “….Medical organisations said at least four clinics and hospitals, including a maternity centre, were bombed on Monday, some of them multiple times, putting them out of service. An anaesthetist was killed in the attacks. ….”

The Guardian


Venezuela: “I sold my hair to feed my girl.”

NY Times

“…..Venezuela is steeped in economic and political turmoil. Inflation last year surpassed 2,600 percent, according to opposition lawmakers, which has exacerbated severe shortages of food and medicine.……”



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