WHO warns of significant health needs in the Philippines

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An average of 20 typhoons a year strike the Philippines. Photo: IRIN/Jason Gutierrez

The World Health Organization (WHO)is sending experts to the storm raved regions of the Philippines to help in the restoration of health care services.

WHO says many health facilities were damaged or completely destroyed, while those still able to operate are severely stretched with medical supplies in very short supply.

Field hospitals with medical teams from Belgium, Japan, Israel and Norway have already been set up in some of the worst affected areas with more teams expected from Australia and Germany.

WHO says the health needs in the affected regions are significant and could get worse due to lack of sanitation services and contamination of water sources.

Tarik Jasarevic is WHO's spokesperson in Geneva.

“The priority is to establish temporary medical centres as health needs are significant. There are people who sustained injuries, trauma, but also there are people with regular health needs. It is expected that 12,000 babies will be born in the next month if the affected areas. Pregnant women need assistance especially in these kind of conditions. WHO just like other agencies has been active in the Philippines responding to previous emergencies. So we were able to re-route some of the supplies and resources to typhoon affected areas. We are trying to rapidly move health supplies but also support Philippines department of health to co-ordinate the arrival of medical teams to ensure that medical supplies go to where they are needed the most and in the most efficient way.”

WHO says it has already deployed medical supplies to perform 400 surgeries and to cover the basic health needs of at least 120,000 people for one month.

Medical kits to treat over 3,000 cases of acute diarrhoea are also being sent to the affected regions.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

Duration 1.58″

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January 2018
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