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COVID-19 compounds health emergency operations in Northeast— WHO

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The Country representative of World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo has said the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded Grade 3 health emergency operations in the Northeast.

Mulombo made this observation in a statement in Maiduguri, Borno State, while reviewing the 9th Joint Operations of WHO health emergency response programme last week.

He said: “The operational environment in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states, is characterised by rising insecurity, driving waves of new displacements, deepening food insecurity and malnutrition. The situation is compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and, therefore, obligates WHO to maintain the Grade 3 health emergency to sustain its current level of operations in the region.”

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He explained that the Joint Operations Review of UN health emergency operations has resolved to maintain grading of the humanitarian health emergency declared in 2016. “We’ve graded the emergency at Grade 3, owing to its severity and impact on public health,” he said, noting that it has significantly reduced access to basic health services, while rendering the population vulnerable to disease outbreaks, malnutrition, injuries and mental health among the victims living in camps and host communities.

“… The capacity of state governments and supporting partners to mitigate the risks or respond to the health emergencies has been affected by recent reduction in national and foreign assistance funding.”

WHO’s health emergency expert, Dr. Jorge Castilla, explained that the protracted nature of the crisis in the Northeast and continued attacks on healthcare facilities and workers have continued to decrease access to healthcare delivery services.

The review was to improve the current healthcare delivery standards and develop the roadmap for future interventions.

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