UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
World, Democratic Republic of the Congo (the)
The Central Emergency Response Fund, the UN’s humanitarian fund, has provided more than US$602 million to 11 UN agencies and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for life-saving health and nutrition interventions in 75 countries and territories around the world since 2006.
Some $352 million was provided through the Fund’s rapid response window to ensure UN Country Teams in 72 countries and territories respond quickly to urgent health and nutrition needs following sudden onset emergencies, while 36 countries and territories have received a total of $251 million through the Fund’s underfunded emergencies window to help even out funding disparities in chronic and less-well funded emergencies.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has received the largest total amount from CERF for health and nutrition projects since 2006 totaling, $255 million, or 42 per cent of all CERF funds for the sector, while the World Health Organization (WHO) has received $229 million or 38 per cent of CERF funding in this sector for child health and nutrition projects.
From January to 5 April 2012, CERF has allocated $38.2 million to health and nutrition projects in 12 countries. WHO is the top funded agency for health allocations thus far in 2012, having received some $13.7 million to fund health related projects in eight countries.
WHO’s largest grant of $4.7 million this year was given in response to a cholera outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in January 2012. The epidemic spread across the country during the course of 2011 claiming the lives of a reported 581 people and contributed to 21,000 cases of cholera last year. The cholera epidemic has since gained momentum and reached new geographic areas with reported cases on the rise. From January to March of this year, 8,144 cases have been registered and 120 lives lost thus far.
CERF funds will help the intensified efforts of WHO and UNICEF in support of government to prevent and treat cholera-related illness and deaths in DRC. CERF funds will benefit some 2.1 million people in the country.
Speaking on the impact of CERF funds to help curtail the cholera epidemic in advance of World Health Day cebrated on 7 April each year, Dr. Valetin Mukina, interim health cluster coordinator for WHO in DRC said, “Unfortunately, cholera continues to spread to previously cholera-free areas, requiring humanitarian actors to continually refocus their activities.”
He continued, “This CERF-funded project has allowed WHO and UNICEF to scale up cholera prevention and response activities in the most affected zones of the country. With CERF funds, WHO has procured and provided cholera kits for treatment, strengthened epidemiological surveillance and provided health communication advice to communities at risk. The key is to empower affected communities to take preventative action, which has become a cornerstone of the response effort.”