Famine relief and health care

The number of deaths caused by the ongoing drought in southern Africa could be greatly reduced by improving basic health care, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). It argues that rainfall failure has triggered a crisis in healthcare systems that were already suffering from long-term deterioration. Some countries in the region, such as Malawi and Mozambique, are running health care systems on a budget of $10 per person per year, so shortages of essential medicines and other health supplies in health centres are common. Low salaries and difficult working conditions for health care workers have led to a 'skills drain', says the WHO. It suggests that countries, as well as distributing food aid, need to strengthen their capacity to provide health care in the worst affected areas. Improving access to drugs and increasing staff levels are key recommendations.

Vass A (2002). Famine relief must also tackle health care. BMJ, Vol 325, 17th August 2002, pp 355

More like this

FEX: New variant famine in southern Africa

Summary of presentation paper1 A paper, presented to a SADC2 Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) meeting in Victoria Falls in October 2002, has argued that the famine...

FEX: What is Livelihoods Programming? (Special Supplement 3)

2.1 Livelihoods principles and the livelihoods framework The livelihoods principles and framework form the basis of all livelihoods programming. The fundamental principles of...

FEX: Distributing food (Special Supplement 1)

Food may be distributed in many different ways but the method of distribution will, to a large extent, depend on the eligible groups and the method for identifying them....

FEX: Issue 19 Editorial

This issue of Field Exchange is dedicated to Prof. John Kevany (ENN Director) who died on 20th April 2003. John was instrumental in establishing the ENN. Given John's...

FEX: Enhanced Outreach Strategy/ Targeted Supplementary Feeding for Child Survival in Ethiopia (EOS/ TSF)

By Selamawit Negash, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF Ethiopia Selamawit Negash (MPH) has been working as a Nutrition Specialist with UNICEF Ethiopia since April 2007. From...

FEX: HIV/AIDS and Humanitarian Action

Summary of published report1 The Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) have just published a report which examines the implications of HIV/AIDS for understanding crisis and the role...

FEX: Nutrition Programming in the Southern Africa Emergency

Summary of unpublished report1 A review of UNICEF and World Food Programme (WFP) nutrition programming was carried out in six southern African countries (Lesotho, Malawi,...

FEX: Operational definition of a famine

Summary of workshop1 A one day workshop was held on March 14, 2003 by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) Sussex, with the aim of developing an operational definition of...

FEX: Support for primary production (Special Supplement 3)

7.1 Introduction This section focuses on supporting agricultural production, in particular farming and livestock production, as livelihood strategies. Production support can...

FEX: Disparate responses to need in Southern Africa

By Gaëlle Fedida Blanket food distribution in Bunjei, Angola, August, 2002 Since 1993, Gaëlle Fedida has worked in humanitarian aid in a wide variety of countries, including...

FEX: One hundred years of famine – a pause for reflection

Dublin '99 This piece was written by Fiona Watson, Institute of Child Health - NutritionWorks with contributions from the editors As the millennium draws to a close, memories...

FEX: Malawi food shortage: how did it happen and could it have been prevented?

By Sarah King Sarah King is currently working as an Emergency Capacity Building Officer with Christian Aid. Having completed a MSc in Public Health Nutrition at LSHTM, she...

FEX: 2011 famine in South Somalia: the role of the early warning information System

By Abukar Yusuf Nur – Nutrition Analyst, Ahono Busili – Nutrition Team Manager, Elijah Odundo – Nutrition Data Analyst, Joseph Waweru – Nutrition Analyst, Louise Masese –...

FEX: Introduction (Special Supplement 2)

Glossary ACF Action Contre la Faim CHA Community Health Assistant CHAM Christian Health Association of Malawi CNW Community Nutrition Worker CTC Community Therapeutic...

FEX: De-stocking in Kenya (Special Supplement 3)

Animals sharing a drink in Wajir, northern Kenya The drought in 1999-2001 was one of the most severe in recent history in Kenya. Nearly three million pastoralists and...

FEX: Understanding the food crisis in Zimbabwe

By Fiona Watson Fiona has recently been in southern Africa with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), looking at the role of needs assessments during the current...

FEX: NEWS of FEWS: Famine Early Warning Systems, the World Wide Web, and the International Famine Centre at University College Cork.

Famine Early Warning Systems, the World Wide Web, and the International Famine Centre at University College Cork. Successive emergencies in the 1980s and early 1990s spurred...

FEX: Ambulatory treatment of severe malnutrition in Afghanistan

By Emmanuelle Lurqin Emmanuelle is a paediatric nurse and since 2000, has worked with MSF Belgium on nutrition programmes in Angola, Burundi, and Afghanistan. She is currently...

FEX: Shopping for Answers in Southern Sudan

Draft Report The two main purposes of recent research in southern Sudan conducted by a member of the Feinstein famine centre were: to elevate the approach to assessing trade...

FEX: Mortality in Somalia during food insecurity and famine (2010-2012)

Women and children wait for assistance from the drought/famine in Dolo, southern Somali The report summarised below on mortality rates during the Somali famine of 2010-12...

Close

Reference this page

Famine relief and health care. Field Exchange 18, March 2003. p12. www.ennonline.net/fex/18/health