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:
Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (environmental sample) in Ghana
Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
Humanitarian crisis in Cameroon
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:
This week, health authorities in Ghana confirmed circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) in an environmental sample. Additionally, two case-patients with acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) tested positive for genetically linked cVDPV2 in Haut Lomami Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The frequency of occurrence of cVDPV2 events in the African Region has been increasing (lately), with three major loci, situated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Lake Chad basin and the Horn of Africa. These epicentres are characterized by major prolonged complex humanitarian emergencies – with insecurity, disrupted health systems and social dislocation. However incidentally, the countries around these epicentres also have conditions that are conducive to the rapid spread of polioviruses, namely accumulation of unprotected persons, suboptimal sanitation and high population mobility. The circulation of vaccine-derived polioviruses in the African region is likely to become a major public health problem if not tackled decisively at this point in time.
The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, Democratic Republic of the Congo continues. The occurrence of a confirmed case in Goma on 14 July 2019, while long anticipated and prepared for, emphasises the enormous challenges around control of this outbreak, reinforcing the need for strong and consistent implementation of all public health measures. While progress is slowly being made, the ongoing response operations are being challenged by suboptimal resourcing, negatively impacting on the entire response. Member States and other donors are strongly encouraged to provide additional funding in order to ensure that hard won progress in containing this EVD outbreak will not suffer a potentially devastating setback due to financial limitations