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WHO issues health priorities for Haiti

Experts call for mass vaccination for measles, rubella and tetanus

OnMedica Staff

Monday, 25 January 2010

The World Health Organization has issued a public health risk assessment document to assist health professionals working with people affected by the emergency in Haiti.

The paper lists the main health threats that face the earthquake-affected population and lists the specific priority interventions for immediate implementation.

Among the priorities listed are: access to surgical, medical and emergency obstetric care and proper case management, particularly for trauma, wounds and burns, priority immunisations, including a mass vaccination campaign for measles/rubella and tetanus; communicable disease surveillance and response, including preparedness for epidemic-prone diseases, support for appropriate infant and young child feeding and malnutrition management and continuity of care for chronic diseases such as HIV and TB.

The document also lists the main non-health sector priorities that impact on health, these being the need for shelter and site planning and provision of sufficient safe water.

"Public health threats represent a significant challenge to those providing health-care services in this evolving situation. It is hoped that this risk assessment will facilitate the coordination of activities between all agencies working among the populations currently affected by the crisis," states the WHO.

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