- This Weekly Bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies
occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme
is currently monitoring 66 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key
ongoing events, including:
Cyclone in Mozambique
Ebola virus disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Lassa fever in Nigeria
Hepatitis E in Namibia
Chikungunya in the Republic of Congo.
For each of these events, a brief description, followed by public health measures
implemented and an interpretation of the situation is provided.
A table at the end of the bulletin gives detailed information on all new and ongoing
public health events currently being monitored in the region, as well as recent
events that have been controlled and thus closed.
Major issues and challenges include:
Although the situation in Mozambique in the aftermath of tropical cyclone
Idai is improving amidst the massive response efforts, the effects remain
including isolated communities that still require air or boat operations for
mobile clinics. The risk of communicable diseases including an ongoing
outbreak of cholera and rise in the number of malaria cases is being raised
by the presence of stagnant flood water, continued limited access to safe
water and overcrowding at accommodation centres. The recent launch of the
oral cholera vaccine (OCV) campaign in the most affected districts with a
coverage of 98.6% is expected to provide short-term relief. Expansion of the
Early Warning and Alert Response System (EWARS) across more areas with
support from WHO and partners is expected to enhance quick and timely
response to outbreaks in order to mitigate their impact. However, with only
6.6% of the funds requested provided so far, there is a dire need to breach
this funding gap in order to prevent a full-scale humanitarian crisis and help
restore the health system to normality.
Challenges associated with insecurity and community resistance continue
to characterize the response to the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in
the Democratic Republic of Congo with two recent incidences of attack
against healthcare facilities which resulted to the loss of life of one of WHO
Epidemiologist and injury to several other Ministry of Health staff. The
outbreak is still restricted to two provinces, North Kivu and Ituri, with Katwa
health zone in North Kivu reporting about 52% of the cases in the past 21 days.
WHO and partners continue to support the government to scale-up response
to the outbreak including strengthening case investigation, contact tracing,
infection prevention and control, vaccination, and other response activities.
Following the recommendations of the International Health Regulations (IHR)
Emergency Committee meeting, community awareness and mobilization
activities have been intensified particularly in areas with resistance at the
epicentre of the outbreak. However, the ongoing gap in funding needs urgently
to be filled to ensure unhindered implementation of response measures.