The 45 million are those who need immediate assistance. They are more likely to die from illness than from starvation, drowning or bullet wounds. In a crisis, unless the population has access to primary health care services, pregnancy becomes dangerous, communicable diseases spread widely and chronic illnesses are left untreated. To avert this breakdown in care and unnecessary death and suffering, international agencies collectively require less than eight dollars for each affected person – for a total of US$ 341 million, for health. This urgent request to donors comes as part of the United Nations InterûAgency Consolidated Appeal (CAP), launched yesterday by the SecretaryûGeneral, Mr Kofi Annan in New York and today in several cities. Funds for health raised through the CAP would be used to assist countries in complex emergencies with lifeûsaving medical relief and to help reûbuild their health systems.
“More and more people are affected by crises and conflict. They face a myriad of threats – many beyond anyone’s immediate control. But by funding health in crises, donors can help ensure quick action to get health services to people in need. WHO will act early to prepare, assist during crises, and ensure a sustained recovery for health,” said WHO DirectorûGeneral, Dr LEE Jongûwook.
Globally, at least one billion people in more than 40 countries are affected by crises. The 45 million targeted in this appeal are the most vulnerable. Some are in danger because of sudden natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, a fire or a chemical accident. Millions more, however, are affected by longûterm, complex crises as a result of ongoing violent conflict. A third wave of crises, recently declared by WHO as a global public health emergency, is the lack of access to treatment for the millions affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which is reversing decades of social, economic and cultural development in many countries.
WHO notes that in crisis lives can be saved by providing reliable information, convening stakeholders around agreed strategies, brokering support, ensuring guidance for health personnel, and monitoring progress.
"In crises people’s lifelines start to break down and they cannot realize their human right to health. The humanitarian community has to counteract; we have to ensure safe access to health services and keep them functioning as much as possible", said Dr David Nabarro, Representative of the DirectorûGeneral for Health Action in Crises, WHO.
The US$ 341 million for health includes projects across several UN agencies. With the funds, WHO will help each of the 21 countries and regions targeted by this appeal with health projects. For more information:www.who.int/disasters
This year’s CAP includes these 21 countries and regions: Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chechnya and Neighboring Republics (Russian Federation), Côte D"Ivoire+ 3 (Mali, BurkinaûFaso and Ghana), Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Great Lakes Region and Central Africa, Guinea, Liberia, the Occupied Palestinian territory, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Southern Africa Region, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uganda, West Africa, and Zimbabwe.
The total amount for humanitarian action requested in the CAP 2004 is US$ 3 billion including US$ 341 million for health. More information about the CAP launch can be found at: www.un.org/depts/ocha