Millions in the greater Horn of Africa are facing acute
hunger as the region faces one of the worst droughts in recent decades,
compounded by years of conflict and instability, the impact of the COVID-19
pandemic and rising food prices due to, in part, the war in Ukraine.
As families face severe food insecurity, many have left
their homes in search of food and water, and pasture for animals. Large-scale displacement is often accompanied by
a deterioration in hygiene and sanitation. Outbreaks of infectious diseases are
a major concern, especially when combined with low existing vaccination
coverage and health service availability.
As people become increasingly food insecure, they also must
make the impossible choice between food and healthcare, even as nutritional
deficiencies make them increasingly vulnerable to disease. This is particularly
true for children, for whom the combination of malnutrition and disease can
With malnutrition and displacement, the need for health
services will increase as people become weaker and more vulnerable to disease.
WHO is coordinating with partners in the health sector and
beyond to ramp up its response in the region to avert the worst effects of food insecurity and to give people access to the health services they need.
Along with countering the consequences of malnutrition, WHO
is helping countries to prepare for outbreaks of diseases like cholera, measles
and malaria. This includes improving surveillance systems for communicable
diseases to identify and respond to new outbreaks quickly.