This Weekly Bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 59 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key new and ongoing events, including:
- Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Measles in Madagascar
- Lassa fever in Nigeria
- Humanitarian crisis in Nigeria
- Humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.
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:
The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues, marked, this week, by two successive attacks on Ebola treatment centres in Katwa and Butembo. These attacks signify a new level of threat in which the Ebola response is directly targeted.
In light of this violence, some partners have understandably put their operations in Katwa and Butembo on standby as they assess the risks.
The direct and indirect disruption caused by the attacks may lead to increased spread and more people becoming sick. Under the leadership of the Ministry of Health, the response partners need to sustain the response, while also enhancing safety for responders and patients.
The humanitarian crisis in South Sudan remains serious despite the recent peace initiative. There are continuous population displacements due to pockets of skirmishes, while the food security situation is threatening, compounded by conflict-driven displacement, low crop production, economic hardship, climate shocks and impediments to humanitarian access. Of notable concern is the alarm raised by civil society around the likelihood of resumption of conflict. The window of hope to attain lasting peace and security in South Sudan should not be allowed to close, a prize that both the warring factions and the global community need to guard jealously.