The Tsunami and After: WHO’s Role

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“The aftermath of the tsunami presented a great public health challenge to WHO. However, every disaster presents opportunities to both countries and international agencies to strengthen their capabilities and capacity,” said Dr. Samlee Plianbangchang, WHO’s s South-East Asia Regional Director. Health systems in many of the affected countries had been devastated. For example, in Aceh, Indonesia, 53 of the 244 health facilities were destroyed or severely incapacitated. Fifty-seven of the 497 provincial health office staff died, while 59 were reported missing. WHO assisted the health sectors of the affected countries, at their request, to strengthen their resources and set up systems where they had been destroyed. In meeting the needs of the affected areas, WHO also provided technical guidelines and medical supplies. Resources were mobilized in partnership with the government health authorities.

 

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