What is WHO doing about injuries among tsunami survivors?
Q: Most of the health discussions have focused on water and communicable diseases. What about all the injuries among survivors? What does WHO do in this area?
A: Most of the people who survived the tsunami and needed medical attention in the immediate aftermath were injured. Unfortunately most injured survivors who had serious torso (e.g. chest or abdominal) or serious head injuries will likely have died now because these injuries require intensive efforts that would in all likelihood have overwhelmed local capacities. The full picture of remaining injured survivors has not emerged yet but it most likely consists of many people with extremity (arm and legs) injuries and those with torso or head injuries that were not sufficiently severe to have already led to death.
WHO has channelled surgical supplies to the affected areas and has made guidance available to the relief community involved in treating these injuries that clearly lays out the priorities and major considerations for management of the injured survivors. WHO's concern is twofold: one is to reduce avoidable death through complications such as wound infection, and tetanus. The second major concern is to minimise lifelong disability by ensuring appropriate trauma care, particularly among people with serious extremity injuries.
More information regarding WHO's recommendations for the priorities in managing injuries and preventing disability among injured survivors may be found at the following link.