Wednesday 6th March 2019
http://www.emro.who.int/lby/libya-news/who-responds-to-critical-health-needs-in-southern-libya.html

6 March 2019 – In response to increasing violence in Sabha City, southern Libya, the World Health Organization (WHO) has delivered trauma medicines sufficient for more than 400 patients requiring trauma care to Sabha Medical Centre, Murzuq General hospital and Ghodwa field hospital. WHO has also delivered 6 incubators and 2 ventilators to the neonatal intensive care unit of Sabha Medical Centre, and pre-positioned additional trauma medicines at the Medical Supply Office in Sabha to be delivered to health facilities as needed.

Clashes between armed groups in Sabha and Murzuq in February resulted in increasing numbers of injured patients, overwhelming health facilities already facing shortages of specialists and medical supplies. The total number of casualties is 250, which includes 44 dead and 206 wounded.

In late February, WHO joined the first United Nations Interagency Mission to Sabha in many years. During the 3-day mission, WHO launched a subnational health sector working group in Sabha to coordinate health activities, with membership of 6 partners, 1 observer and 3 government institutions in southern Libya. WHO, together with the National Centre for Disease Control, management from Sabha Medical Centre, and the Medical Supply Office, agreed to scale up support for the national tuberculosis programme and national AIDS programme.

“As a result of WHO’s constructive discussions with local authorities in southern Libya, and in line with WHO’s strategic goal to expand and strengthen the field emergency coordination, WHO will establish a satellite logistics hub in Sabha to preposition all medical supplies for the south, in addition to part of our contingency stocks for the country as a whole. WHO will also supporting the national tuberculosis and AIDS programmes with essential medicines, diagnostic supplies and capacity-building for health staff throughout 2019. WHO and National Centre for Disease Control have also agreed to improve access of migrants to public health services,” said Dr Syed Jaffar Hussein, WHO Representative in Libya.

In November 2018, WHO supported the National Centre to train and deploy 3 rapid response teams to respond to all infectious disease outbreaks. WHO also deployed a psychiatrist to provide regular consultations and treatment to mental health patients in Sabha, Ubari and Ash Shatti. WHO is also in the process of deploying 4 emergency medical teams to Sabha, Murzuq, Ghat and Ubari to provide specialized health care services and upgrade the capacities of the four main hospitals in these areas.

To ensure basic health services are available to all people in need in the areas WHO is implementing a Minimum Health Service Package in Ash Shatti and Ubari that support 2 main hospitals and 5 primary health care centres with essential medicines, medical supplies, laboratory supplies and training of health workers.
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2019 20:02:32 +0100

Tripoli, Feb 27, 2019 (AFP) - At least 5,000 cases of a potentially deadly tropical disease have been registered in Libya in the past six months, the country's health ministry said Wednesday.   Leishmaniasis, which is caused by a microscopic parasite spread by sandflies, creates ulcers and disfiguring scars, and one variety can attack internal organs.   It is often associated with poverty and poor urban sanitation.   "There are currently 5,000 patients who are being treated," said Ahmad al-Qarari, who heads the centre for disease control at the health ministry of Libya's UN-backed unity government.

But he told AFP that these were only cases which have been registered by the authorities, noting that the extent of the problem remains unknown because some patients do not seek treatment.   Qarari said the World Health Organization was providing Libya with treatment from India and that a new batch of medication was due next week.   Most of the cases were registered along North African country's Mediterranean coast west of the capital, Tripoli.   Mansour Souleiman said he contracted the disease while harvesting olives in December.   "I noticed small lesions (on my skin) and at first I thought they were caused by insect bites," he said at a clinic in Tripoli where authorities provide treatment.   Within a month they became ulcers, he said.

According to WHO estimates published in 2018, there are about 700,000 to one million cases of leishmaniasis globally every year, with 20,000-30,000 people dying of the disease.  Qarari said it first appeared in Libya a century ago and more recently in 2006.   "The government must organise awareness campaigns continuously because this disease has become endemic," Qarari said.   Libya has been rocked by deadly conflict and its economy thrown into turmoil since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising which toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.
Date: Thu 28 Feb 2019
Source: France 24 [edited]
<https://www.france24.com/en/20190227-5000-cases-tropical-parasite-libya-ministry>

At least 5000 cases of a potentially deadly tropical disease have been registered in Libya in the past 6 months, the country's health ministry said on Wednesday [27 Feb 2019]. Leishmaniasis, which is caused by a microscopic parasite spread by sandflies, creates ulcers and disfiguring scars, and one variety can attack internal organs. It is often associated with poverty and poor urban sanitation.

"There are currently 5000 patients who are being treated," said Ahmad al-Qarari, who heads the centre for disease control at the health ministry of Libya's UN-backed unity government. But he told AFP that these were only cases that have been registered by the authorities, noting that the extent of the problem remains unknown because some patients do not seek treatment.

Qarari said the World Health Organization was providing Libya with treatment from India and that a new batch of medication was due next week. Most of the cases were registered along the North African country's Mediterranean coast west of the capital, Tripoli. Qarari said leishmaniasis 1st appeared in Libya a century ago and more recently in 2006. "The government must organise awareness campaigns continuously because this disease has become endemic," Qarari said.

Libya has been rocked by deadly conflict and its economy thrown into turmoil since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi.
5th February 2019
http://www.emro.who.int/lby/libya-news/who-warns-of-increasing-attacks-on-health-facilities-in-libya.html

5 February 2019 – The World Health Organization (WHO) warns of increasing attacks on health facilities and workers in both frequency and scale. WHO has documented more than 41 attacks targeting health workers and facilities throughout 2018–2019 across the country. These attacks resulted in 6 health workers and patients killed and 25 health workers injured. An additional seven health workers were also assaulted during this period.

As the fighting across the country continues, the number of health facilities destroyed or damaged by attacks is increasing, depriving thousands of people in need of urgent and essential health care. In Libya, almost 75% of health facilities are closed or only partially functioning due to the ongoing political crisis, and there is a severe shortage of health staff. Increasing attacks on health care deprive thousands of people of health services and further weaken the health system.

“WHO once again demands that all parties in the conflict respect the safety of health workers, health facilities and medical supplies, and the overall sanctity of health care. The pattern of attacks indicates that health care is being deliberately targeted in the conflict area – this is a major violation of International Humanitarian Law and a tragic disregard of our common humanity. Such attacks are an outrage that put many more lives in danger in Libya and deprive the most vulnerable, including children and pregnant women, of their right to health services, just at the time when they need them most,” Dr Jaffar Hussein, WHO Representative and head of the mission said.
Date: Mon 7 Jan 2019
Source: Outbreak News Today [edited]
<http://outbreaknewstoday.com/leishmaniasis-outbreak-northwest-libya-town-53070/>

Health officials in Bani Walid municipality [Misratah district] in northwest Libya are reporting an outbreak of the disfiguring parasitic disease, leishmaniasis, according to a local media report.

[So far,] 290 cases have been reported although it is not clear when this upsurge of cases began.

The report notes that Director of the Office Ayman al-Hawadi said that the disease has become a nightmare for residents in Bani Walid, especially in the absence of medical treatment, calling on the competent authorities to save the city from a health disaster that could emanate from the spreading of the disease.

In a Libya Observer report today [6 Jan 2019], Chairman of the Commission for the Management of Medical Supply Service, Tahir Bakhir, said that medication for leishmaniasis disease will be available by next week [week of 14 Jan 2019]; however, he noted that no more than 5000 doses will be available.

In December [2018], Bakhir warned that leishmaniasis will increase during the months of January and February [2019], to reach thousands of cases.

Leishmaniasis is caused by the protozoan leishmania parasites, which are transmitted by the bite of infected female phlebotomine sandflies -- flies that are 3 times smaller than a mosquito. According to the World Health Organization, there are an estimated 700,000 to 1 million new cases annually, and they cause 20,000-30,000 deaths each year.
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[Borrowing from our comments on the situation of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Libya in ProMED-mail posting http://promedmail.org/post/20180413.5742538: "A recent study mapping of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Libya concluded: "Future projection of CL until 2060 showed a trend of increasing incidence of CL in the north-western part of Libya, a spread along the coastal region and a possible emergence of new endemics in the north-eastern districts of Libya. These results should be considered for control programs to prevent the emergence of new endemic areas taking also into consideration changes in socio-economical factors such as migration, conflicts, urbanization, land use and access to health care" (Amro A, Al-Dwibe H, Gashout A et al. Spatiotemporal and molecular epidemiology of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Libya. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2017;11(9):e0005873; available at <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605087/>). - ProMED Mod.EP]

[HealthMap/ProMED-mail of Libya: <http://healthmap.org/promed/p/52759>]
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