Health workers in Côte d’Ivoire unable to return to work

Disease epidemics are reappearing in Côte d'Ivoire, as the humanitarian situation in the country continues to get worse, according to United Nations agencies.

Health worker

Health Worker

The World Health Organization and UNICEF says Côte d’Ivoires health sector is barely functional, with nearly half of the health workforce unable to report to work due to insecurity.

Efforts are underway to contain an outbreak of measles in the south of the country where up to 500,000 children are expected to be vaccinated against the disease in the coming days.

A cholera outbreak in the capital Abidjan has already claimed 11 lives while yellow fever has been blamed for at least 26 deaths.

Marixie Mercado is UNICEF’s spokesperson in Geneva.

“Because of the political stalemate in Côte d’Ivoire, UNICEF estimates that around half of the health workers are not at their posts. Some health workers who travelled from outlying areas to Abidjan to vote in the elections over two and a half months ago have not been able to return home due to the insecurity. Power outages and a massive shortage of gas needed to run vaccine fridges has compromised safe storage capacity. The shortage of cash needed to pay for fuel so that motorbikes can conduct door to door vaccinations is another logistical hurdle. It’s an overriding UNICEF priority over the next three months to immunize all children against measles.”

The UN agencies warn that the risk of the disease epidemics spreading to other parts of the country is high unless the full functioning health care system is restored fast.

Filed under Today's News.
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