Campaigning for Health

Responding together to fight disease
11 June 2019
Logistics Cluster, WHO and WFP staff members discuss the operation in Mutare, Zimbabwe

When a cyclone strikes, immediate concerns arise – particularly shelter, food, access to clean drinking water. But in the following days, humanitarian attention may quickly turn to health concerns like the spread of diseases such as cholera and malaria. For the health responses to both Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, the Logistics Cluster got involved.

Cyclone Idai first crossed the coast of Mozambique on the evening of 14 March, making landfall in Beira before leaving a trail of destruction across Central Mozambique. Idai then crossed over into Malawi and Zimbabwe where it caused severe flooding and landslides. A massive humanitarian operation quickly began to assist more than 2.9 million people affected across the three countries. Six weeks later, a second storm, Cyclone Kenneth, devastated northern Mozambique affecting approximately 200,000 people and destroying critical infrastructure. For both cyclones, the Logistics Cluster quickly intervened to assist responding organisations by providing coordination, information management and facilitating access to a number of logistics services such as storage, and road, sea, river and air transport.

In Zimbabwe, the Logistics Cluster worked closely with WHO and the Ministry of Health throughout the first month of the Idai response. Stagnant water led to concerns about increases in malaria cases, and the regular passage of persons across the border from Mozambique into Zimbabwe brought with it concerns of cholera spreading into the country. The Logistics Cluster team on the ground worked closely with WHO and the Zimbabwean Ministry of Health, to facilitate access to the storage and airlift of approximately 35 mt of mosquito nets and medicines to remote and hard-to-reach areas of Zimbabwe’s Chimanimani district during April. Support was also provided for the first round of the Oral Cholera Vaccine campaign conducted during the first week of May, with facilitation of access to airlift for vaccines and WHO staff to five destinations cut-off due to infrastructure damage caused by the cyclone.

 

 

In the second week of May, the Logistics Cluster team over the border in Mozambique supported the Ministry of Health’s national vaccination campaign, conducted in conjunction with WHO and UNICEF. Throughout the campaign the Logistics Cluster facilitated access to a range of logistics services. As such, approximately 7 mt of vaccines, medicines, mosquito nets and tents were stored and transported. A team of fifteen medical personnel were transported to eleven remote areas of Muanza, Buzi and Cheringoma districts only accessible by helicopter, including some locations that had not previously been reached. In the northern province of Cabo Delgado, the Logistics Cluster also supported health interventions as part of the Cyclone Kenneth response, facilitating the transport of goods and personnel for the setup of health facilities in affected areas on behalf of MSF, WHO and the Ministry of Health, and assisting in the transportation of medics from Team Rubicon as part of OCHA-coordinated rapid assessment missions.

 

"One of the most satisfying aspects about working with the cluster, is seeing partners working together towards a common goal. I was proud to be a part of this response, working closely with the government and other partners on these important interventions. This was all possible thanks to team work and rapid deployment of WFP air assets."

- Gilles Cimetiere, Mozambique Logistics Cluster Coordinator

 

To learn more about the ongoing operation in Zimbabwe click here, and for Mozambique click here.