Emergency and Humanitarian Action: Improving the Effectiveness of Health Interventions: Round Table 3
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Abstract1. About 20% of disasters worldwide occur in Africa, and 60% of all deaths resulting from such disasters occur in the African Region owing to its high vulnerability and low capacity to provide appropriate response. 2. The African Region is burdened with epidemics, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, droughts, famines and cyclones. This wide range of natural disasters is compounded by increasingly recurrent and unsettled conflicts and war. Apart from the immediate consequences of death, incalculable human suffering, property damage and displacement of persons, escalating natural and man-made disasters have profound long-term social, environmental and economic effects. 3. Most of these disasters cause massive destruction of health infrastructure and resources, crippling the already weak health systems, and decreasing access to basic health and social services. 4. Women and children account for a disproportionate 80% of the populations affected by disasters in the African Region; as a result, maternal and infant morbidity and mortality are considerably high. In addition, the scale of disasters fosters epidemics and rapid spread of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. 5. The rate of HIV/AIDS infections represents a formidable challenge to the complex web of humanitarian emergencies. HIV/AIDS prevalence ranges from over 10% among the displaced populations in west Africa to over 30% of the famine-stricken in southern Africa where 14.4 million people are adversely affected by food shortages.
Regional Committee for Africa, 53. (2003). Emergency and Humanitarian Action: Improving the Effectiveness of Health Interventions: Round Table 3. WHO. Regional Office for Africa. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/93325