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* Health conditions are improving in Sri Lanka IDP camps, WHO says
Wed, Jul 29, 2009, 09:22 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

July 29, Colombo: Incidences of communicable diseases in the camps housing the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Northern Sri Lanka continue to decrease, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a recent report.

As the disease surveillance activities in the camps continue to improve, the incidence of hepatitis, chickenpox, dysentery, and watery diarrhoea have shown declining trends, the WHO reported. According to the WHO there were few cases of measles and mumps but no new cases have been reported from the IDP sites.

Who and Sri Lanka Ministry of Health are vigilantly monitoring the disease situation in the camps and other health issues like malaria, dengue, tuberculosis (TB) as well as H1N1 infections. The Ministry has also established new immunization guidelines in the camps for the children and the health workers, WHO said.

The Sri Lankan government is gradually transferring the IDPs in the schools and other public sites to new welfare villages to ease congestion in the camps. According to the WHO, there are 264 822 IDPs, consisting of 85 748 families in Vavuniya. A majority is housed in 13 welfare zones.

WHO said the Sri Lankan government has developed a 180-day plan for rehabilitation and resettlement of IDPs in the conflict-affected areas in Vanni.

Based on the government's 180-day plan, the Health Ministry has also developed its own plans for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the health facilities in the North and provision of medical equipment to those facilities.

WHO along with other organizations including UNICEF, UNFPA, IOM, ICRC, MSF (Holland), MTI, Handicap International, Muslim Aid, Sarvodaya, SewaLnaka, MercyMalasiya, and CARE International are coordinating and assisting the Health Ministry's efforts to provide health care services to the IDP population, WHO assured.

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