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South Sudan: With support from WHO, the Ministry of Health to rollout Mobile Phone-Based Surveillance System to every health facility in South Sudan

Source: World Health Organization
Country: South Sudan
15 February 2019, Juba – In 2016, with support from WHO and partners, South Sudan was the first country in the world to roll out “EWARS in a box,” the early warning, alert and response system (EWAR...

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Essential Medicines Bolster Health Facilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo as Ebola Threat Looms

Source: Direct Relief
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda
Fatal cases of the disease continue to rise, and health facility staff are taking precautions as they treat patients.

By Lara Cooper

More cases of Ebola were...

Democratic Republic of the Congo: ECHO Factsheet – The Democratic Republic of Congo – (Last updated 13/02/2019)

Source: European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
Country: Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda

FACTS & FIGURES

Nearly 13 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance

More than 2 million new internally displaced people and 998 000 returnees in 2018

810 000 refugees from the DRC in neighbouring countries and 537 000 refugees from the region in the DRC

Nearly 13 million people affected by severe food insecurity

More than 1 million children under five who are severely malnourished (UNOCHA, UNHCR and UNICEF)

EU humanitarian aid:
More than €80 million in 2018

Introduction

The humanitarian response plan for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remains the second largest worldwide. Nearly 13 million people in the DRC are in need of humanitarian assistance. The ongoing Ebola virus disease outbreak is not yet under control and has become the second largest outbreak in history.

What are the needs?

With nearly 13 million people suffering from severe food insecurity (critical lack of consistent access to enough food), the Democratic Republic of Congo faces the second largest food crisis in the world. According to UNICEF, more than one million children under five years of age in the DRC suffer from severe acute malnutrition, which is a life-threatening condition.

For the past decades, eastern DRC has seen inter-communal violence and militia attacks resulting in mass exodus and a particular pattern of internal displacement movements, known as déplacements pendulaires, where people carry on with their activities at their home area during the day but then retreat to safer places for the night. In 2018, there were over three million people in the DRC who were either internally displaced or who had just returned to their, often destroyed, place of origin. The DRC itself is host to more than 537 000 refugees who arrive mainly from Rwanda, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan.

With its weak health system, the DRC is prone to epidemics, such as cholera, measles or malaria. The tenth Ebola outbreak in the DRC was declared in August 2018. The disease has since claimed over 500 lives in the conflict-affected provinces of North Kivu and Ituri.

World: Stop the War on Children: Protecting Children in 21st Century Conflict

Source: Save the Children
Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World, Yemen

At least 100,000 babies die every year because of conflict

More children are living in areas affected by armed conflict than at any time over the past two decades, a new report from Save the Children reveals

At least 550,000 babies are thought to have died as a result of armed conflict between 2013 and 2017 in the 10 worst-affected countries, according to new analysis by Save the Children — an average of well over 100,000 every year.

The infants succumbed to indirect effects of conflict and war such as hunger, damaged infrastructure and hospitals, a lack of access to health care and sanitation, and the denial of aid. They probably would not have died if they hadn’t been living in areas affected by conflict, Save the Children says.

The total deaths from indirect effects jump to 870,000 when all children under the age of five are included. While imperfect, the estimates may be conservative, according the charity. By comparison, Save the Children has estimated from available data that in the same five-year period almost 175,000 fighters were killed in the conflicts.

The numbers of indirect child deaths are published in a Save the Children report, Stop the War on Children, launched ahead of today’s opening of the Munich Security Conference. For the second year in a row, the report includes the most comprehensive collection of data on the number of children living in conflict-affected areas. It reveals that more children — almost 1 in 5 — are living in areas affected by armed conflict and war than at any time in more than 20 years.

New research by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), commissioned by Save the Children, found that 420 million children were living in conflict-affected areas in 2017 (18% of all children worldwide) — up 30 million from the previous year. Afghanistan, Yemen, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Syria, Iraq, Mali, Nigeria and Somalia are the countries where children were hardest hit by conflict in 2017.

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International, said:

“Our report shows that the way today’s wars are being fought is causing more suffering for children. Almost 1 in 5 children are living in areas impacted by conflict – more than at any time in the past two decades. The number of children being killed or maimed has more than tripled, and we are seeing an alarming increase in the use of aid as a weapon of war.

“It is shocking that in the 21st century we are going backwards on principles and moral standards that are so simple – children and civilians should never be targeted.

Our analysis clearly shows the situation is getting worse for children and the world is allowing this travesty to happen. Every day, children come under attack because armed groups and military forces disregard international laws and treaties. From the use of chemical weapons to rape as a weapon of war, war crimes are being committed with impunity.”

Part of the reason for the increased number of children living in conflict-affected areas is that today’s conflicts are more likely to be protracted, urban and fought among civilian populations. Increasingly, international rules and norms are flouted.

The Stop the War on Children report includes a breakdown of UN data on verified grave violations against children. According to these figures, grave violations rose worldwide from just under 10,000 in 2010 to more than 25,000 in 2017—the highest number on record. Every day children face the threat of being killed or maimed, recruited by armed groups, abducted, falling victim to sexual violence, seeing their school attacked or humanitarian aid denied. In many cases, children are specifically targeted.

Masika*, 15, from the DRC, is the youngest of seven children whose father died and left them unable to support themselves. She left school and joined an armed group to survive. “Everything I had thought I could do and could be one day now seemed impossible. I thought my only option was to get involved with armed groups. [The soldiers] wouldn't stop asking me to satisfy their sexual urges and I found myself having to give in.”

Save the Children’s report also highlights how efforts to keep schools safe, avoid the use of certain weapons, seek accountability for crimes against children or pursue new ways to support their recovery from the horrors of conflict can make a huge difference in their lives.

The charity included more than 20 recommendations for governments and other influential organisations to ensure children are protected during war and conflict. The commitments range from signing a Safe Schools Declaration and a minimum age of 18 for military recruitment to the avoidance of using explosive weapons in populated areas and tightening conditions for arms sales.

Ms Thorning-Schmidt continued: “When the rules of war are broken, the international community must be clear that this will not be tolerated and hold perpetrators to account. And for the children whose lives are wrecked by conflict, we must do all we can to protect them from further harm and help rebuild their future.”

Save the Children is also calling for an independent body to investigate and analyse all violations of international humanitarian law and of human rights, notably children’s rights.

Uganda: UNICEF Uganda Humanitarian Annual Situation Report – January – December 2018

Source: UN Children's Fund
Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda

Highlights

• In 2018, Uganda responded to several crises including the refugee influx from DRC, Burundi and South Sudan, disease outbreaks such as cholera, and flooding in Bududa, Eastern Uganda.

• Those most affected by emergencies in Uganda were women and children. Sixty per cent of refugees and host communities were children still in need of essential services for their survival, development and well-being.

• With UNICEF support, 25,100 children were treated for severe acute malnutrition; and 475,700 children aged 6 months to 15 years were vaccinated against measles in refugee hosting districts. While 4,700 unaccompanied and separated children benefitted from individual support and alternative care services.

• Since the start of the Ebola outbreak in August, in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), UNICEF has been involved in Ebola prevention and preparedness efforts with the Ministry of Health and partners

Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs

In 2018, the Government of Uganda with support from UNICEF and other partners responded to several humanitarian crises including the refugee influx from DRC, Burundi and South Sudan, disease outbreaks such as cholera, the threat of EVD from neighbouring DRC, and flooding in Bududa, Eastern Uganda.

Refugees

Uganda is home to over 1.2 million refugees. A verification exercise conducted by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and UNHCR in 2018 showed that over 789,099 refugees originated from South Sudan; 312,699 from DRC; 34,981 from Burundi; and over 54,000 from Somalia, Rwanda and other countries.

Children in refugee settlements in Uganda continue to be at risk of abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation. Case management reports from the field revealed that the types of violence against children include separation from caregivers/families, psychosocial distress, sexual and gender-based violence, physical violence, child labour and neglect. New arrivals mainly children continued to display symptoms of distress caused by witnessing violence and conflict in their countries of origin. These protection concerns require adequate and timely provision of critical child protection services.

In 2018, Uganda’s Ministry of Education and Sports with support from partners launched the Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities (ERP) as a means to facilitate the integration of the planning of education services to benefit refugee children and host communities. The increasing number of refugees put pressure on Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres, primary and secondary schools, many of which already face challenges of poor infrastructure and insufficient teachers. For example, in Yumbe district, the school-aged population has more than doubled since early 2016. As a result, many children, adolescents and youth in refugee settlements and host communities are not able to obtain an education, either because they have missed the opportunity for schooling due to the protracted crisis and are too old to join the formal schools, or do not have the necessary examination certificates. Education interventions are particularly important to build social cohesion among refugees and between refugees and host communities. Life skills interventions, accelerated learning programmes and vocational training are essential opportunities for adolescents and young people.

The OPM, UNHCR and REACH Initiative, conducted a joint Multi-Sector Needs Assessment of refugees and host communities in Uganda. The assessment reported high levels of food insecurity among refugees.1 The average Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) (WHZ < -2 SD) increased from 7.2 per cent in 2016 to 9.5 per cent in 2017; above the WHO emergency threshold. Stunting was also above the WHO emergency threshold of 20 per cent across all settlements in the South West. Across all settlements, women and children suffered from anaemia, which was above the WHO emergency threshold of 40 per cent. There is need to intensify efforts to address micronutrient deficiency, GAM, and stunting to reduce the current burden of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) across the refugee hosting districts. According to the Lancet series, about 20 per cent of all child morbidity and mortality can be averted with appropriate infant and young child feeding practices of breast and complementary feeding and these will continue to be prioritised in 2019.

With an increasing refugee population and anticipated refugee influxes through to 2020, the capacity and resources of primary healthcare institutions remain at a constant risk of being overstretched. In particular, refugees living in urban areas and outside the settlements access government health facilities that have not planned for additional patient caseload, leading to increased workload on health workers, frequent shortage of medicines and out-of-pocket medication expenditures by both refugee and host communities during stock-out periods2 .

On average, refugee hosting sub-counties accessed 16 litres of water per person per day (lpd). According to sector reports, supply was inequitably distributed between settlement, hosting populations and districts. Refugee and host populations from West Nile had the highest lpd (average 17.5 lpd for host community, 18.7 litres for refugees). Households of refugees from DRC and Burundi in the southwest region accessed 15 lpd or less (68 per cent for host community, 74 per cent for refugees) and 10 lpd or less (38 per cent for host community, 49 per cent for refugees) respectively. Seventy nine per cent of households in host community and amongst refugees own a family latrine. The unavailability of materials for construction of family latrines coupled with low levels of community participation to shift from communal to family latrines, especially amongst South Sudanese refugees, is hindering efforts to ensure all households own a latrine.

Child poverty and deprivation in refugee settings

The first study to apply a consensual approach to measuring poverty3 and deprivation in emergency situations in the country and globally – Child Poverty and Deprivation in Refugee Hosting Areas – was launched in June 2018. The study4 assessed child poverty, deprivation and social service delivery and provided unprecedented evidence on the situation and vulnerability of refugees in Uganda, including urban refugees in Kampala, and that of host communities in the main refugee-hosting regions. The analysis identified the determinants of social service insufficiency and provided practical recommendations on how to manage social service delivery equitably for both refugees and host communities. The evidence highlighted that while refugee children tend to be more deprived of socially perceived necessities, deprivation among refugees tends to reduce over time. Within five years of residence, deprivation rates among refugees were on a par with those of host communities; the reason being that levels of deprivation among host communities are already high. As such, the evidence reiterates the urgent need to facilitate integration of services provided for both host and refugees and special focus is for refugee-hosting districts. More details on the report can be accessed on https://www.unicef.org/uganda/ChildPovertyRefugees-FINAL-Lores.pdf

Disease outbreaks

Throughout 2018, refugee producing countries neighbouring Uganda and refugee-hosting areas inside Uganda remained vulnerable to communicable disease outbreaks due to cross border movement, congestion, inadequate sanitation and geographic location of settlement necessitating preparedness and response for disease outbreaks especially at district and local level.

Cholera: In 2018, the Ministry of Health (MOH) with support from UNICEF and other humanitarian partners responded to Cholera outbreaks in eleven districts with a total of 2,699 cumulative cases and Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 2.22 per cent which is above the WHO threshold. Majority of the cases were refugees from DRC who imported the outbreak Ituri (DRC), other outbreaks to note are Amudat and Bulambuli that were believed to be associated with cross border engagements among the Pokot and Karamojong in North Eastern Uganda.The re-emergence of cholera in Kampala city in December, two months after controlling an earlier outbreak, has been attributed to risk factors of poor sanitation and lack of clean water. There is need to address the risk factors associated with WASH in addition to risk communication and social mobilization for behaviour change.

Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF): Uganda experienced sporadic cases of CCHF in the eight districts of Ibanda, Isingiro, Kabarole, Kakumiro, Kiboga, Kiryadongo, Nakaseke, Masindi and Sembabule, along the cattle corridor. The cumulative number of confirmed cases reached 14 with six fatalities (CFR = 43 per cent).

Rift Valley Fever (RVF): In 2018, Uganda contained a RVF outbreak that was reported along the cattle corridor in 17 districts;33 cumulative cases, and 18 deaths were reported.

Anthrax: In 2018, an Anthrax outbreak was reported in four districts of Arua (West Nile), Kiruhura (South western), Isingiro (West Nile) and Kween (Eastern). Ten cases were confirmed with one death. The outbreak has been contained.

Black Water Fever: Fourteen children were affected by a Black Water Fever in Manafwa District, Eastern Uganda. The MOH deployed a rapid response team and provided timely treatment to the affected thus controlling the outbreak.

Measles and rubella: In 2018, Uganda was hit by a measles outbreak with 76 out of 122 districts affected with 1,216 cumulative cases. About 33 districts also reported a rubella outbreak across the country with 196 cases and zero case fatality rate. With Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations (GAVI) support, the country will now introduce the Measles Rubella combined vaccine into the national immunization schedule in 2019.

Ebola preparedness and prevention: As of 31 December 2018, the MOHhad not confirmed any case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Uganda. Surveillance continues at the community, health facilities, formal and informal points of entries (POE) in all 30 high risk districts. MOH and partners continue to identify alerts, validate, isolate suspected cases and collect samples which are tested in-country at the Uganda Virus Research Institute.

Floods and Landslides

In October, a flood and landslide occurred in Bukalasi sub county, Bududa district, affecting 13 villages and killing 43 people, including eight children, and injuring 21. The OPM and partners rescue teams conducted search and recovery of the dead bodies and evacuated the injured. Road infrastructure, water and sanitation facilities, and education facilities were destroyed.

Uganda: Impact of the DRC Ebola outbreak in neighbouring countries (DG ECHO, UN) (ECHO Daily Flash of 14 February 2019)

Source: European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda

  • The DRC Ebola outbreak is ongoing in a border area with high cross-border population flow with Uganda and Rwanda making it of particular concern.

  • According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a “very high risk” remains that the Ebola virus spreads further in the DRC but also into neighbouring countries, in particular Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

  • The setting up and strengthening of readiness and preparedness planning and actions is ongoing at regional level with the help of WHO. For this, USD 68.7 million are required with a current funding gap of USD 27.5 million.

South Sudan: Salesian teachers and staff from Don Bosco Radio take part in training session on healing trauma

Source: Salesian Missions
Country: South Sudan
(MissionNewswire) Thirty-five teachers from several schools, together with the staff of Don Bosco Radio, attended a three-day training session on trauma healing, according to an article on Catholic News Ra...

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Compte-rendu de l’actualité des Nations unies en RDC à la date du 13 février 2019

Source: UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan

MONUSCO :

(La conférence de presse a été animée par MATHIAS GILLMANN, porte-parole par intérim)

Le Secrét...

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