Humanitarian Response: Health
The NWSW regions are experiencing a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, reported to be more severe than the first wave in June-July 2020, in terms of number of cases detected per epidemiological week and number of deaths. The case fatality rate in the NW is 4.1 per cent, almost three times the national figure. This can be partially explained by the increased testing of dead bodies in the region. From 22 to 28 February, nine over 11 deaths were recorded in health facilities and two in the community. WHO is supporting mass testing campaigns in the NWSW to increase the testing rates from below 100 in 10,000 people to 300 in 10,000 people by the end of April 2021.
The Health Cluster coordination meeting took place in Bamenda in February. During this meeting, partners agreed on the need to update the public health situational analysis (PHSA) and the Health Resources and Available Services Monitoring System (HeRAMS) in the two regions.
The Cluster has a limited and decreasing number of operational partners because of limited funding. However, available partners continued to deliver timely and life-saving services to affected communities. United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) supported the Regional Delegation of Public Health (RDPH) of the SW to carry out the third and last round of three-days catch-up vaccination for children and pregnant women in the region. A total of 15,307 infants and 1,076 pregnant women who had missed vaccine doses were vaccinated. UNICEF also supported the RDPH SW to train 45 staff from 18 health facilities on infection prevention and control (IPC) in the context of COVID-19. WHO provided 264 phones and communication credit in the NWSW to support the regional and district rapid response teams (RRT) trained in December 2020 to effectively respond to COVID-19.
The rapid assessments carried out during joint field missions in February highlighted healthcare as a pressing need in all visited communities. Access to timely and equitable healthcare remains a major challenge to affected populations in the NWSW.