WHO AFRO Outbreaks and Other Emergencies, Week 12: 18 - 24 March 2019; Data as reported by 17:00; 24 March 2019

from World Health Organization
Published on 24 Mar 2019 View Original

This Weekly Bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 67 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key new and ongoing events, including:

  • Cyclone in Mozambique and Zimbabwe
  • Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Humanitarian crisis in Mali
  • Humanitarian crisis in Central African Republic.

    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:

Tropical cyclone Idai has caused severe devastation in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and the situation remains serious. Thousands of people in Mozambique are reportedly still waiting to be rescued after several days, mainly because of the overwhelming scale of the disaster. While search and rescue operations are ongoing, other immediate needs are emerging, including access to potable water, food and shelter, while the risk of outbreaks of communicable diseases is ever increasing. Restoration of healthcare services is therefore paramount to prevent, prepare for and respond to outbreaks of communicable diseases as well as provide trauma care, psychosocial counselling and treatment of common and chronic illnesses.

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo continues. The past week has seen an increase in the number of EVD cases reported after weeks of overall declining trends. This rise could be partly attributed to the disruption of response interventions following the recent spate of insecurity, including attacks on treatment centres, and pockets of community mistrust. This phenomenon also demonstrates how easy it is to lose the gains already made if the ongoing responses are not sustained. Currently, response teams are fully operational in all outbreak affected areas and there are encouraging improvements in community acceptance of the response, despite the ongoing insecurity.