This Weekly Bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 71 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key new and ongoing events, including:
- Humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso
- Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Chikungunya in Congo
- Malaria in Burundi
For each of these events, a brief description, followed by public health measures implemented and an interpretation of the situation is provided.
A table is provided at the end of the bulletin with information on all new and ongoing public health events currently being monitored in the region, as well as recent events that have largely been controlled and thus closed.
Major issues and challenges include:
Indiscriminate armed attacks against civilians and humanitarian workers continue to escalate in Burkina Faso worsening the already complex humanitarian crisis characterized by the mass displacement of the affected population. The country’s health system remains greatly affected particularly in the conflict areas where several health facilities have closed and those opened are operating sub-optimally thus limiting access to basic health services. High rates of morbidity and mortality from infectious disease occasioned by outbreaks of epidemic-prone diseases continue to exact a toll on the affected population. Local authorities and partners continue to provide responses under adverse circumstances with available resources overstretched. Concerted efforts are required to mobilize additional resources while at the same time addressing the underlying drivers of the crisis to prevent further population displacement and suffering.
The response to the EVD outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo remains challenged by continued insecurity, pockets of community resistance, and mass movement of population from outbreak-affected areas to other parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and across porous borders to neighbouring countries. These challenges are typified by the report of a confirmed case in a previously unaffected health zone in Ituri Province and increased armed attacks and successive demonstrations during the week which led to the temporary suspension of EVD response activities in Beni Health Zone, one of the current hotspots of the outbreak. While response strategies keep evolving to adapt to the local context, capacities for operational readiness and preparedness should continue to be enhanced and sustained in non-outbreak affected areas including neighbouring countries.