This Weekly Bulletin focuses on public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 69 events in the region. This week’s main articles cover key new and ongoing events, including:
Flooding in Mali
Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
Cholera outbreak in Nigeria
Chikungunya outbreak in Ethiopia.
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 cholera outbreak in North East Nigeria is being controlled, and state actors should be commended for their rapid activation of the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) and clear daily situation reports enabling the wider public health community to understand and support the response. All pillars of the response are developing strategic plans for ending the outbreak, which, if adhered to should interrupt any further transmission.
However, the underlying risk factors for cholera, insufficient access to safe water and poor sanitary and hygiene facilities, still exist in many of the areas among a population suffering the consequences of a decade long armed conflict.
A chikungunya outbreak is occurring in Ethiopia for only the second time causing substantial morbidity in the affected area. The outbreak was rapidly investigated by national authorities and has thus far mainly affected one city area within the country. However, government and supporting partners are encouraged to scale up all aspects of vector control in order to remove breeding sites and reduce transmission, which together with community education will ensure geographical spread of the outbreak is limited.