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 Niger
- Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Humanitarian crisis in Central African Republic
- Cholera 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:
The humanitarian crisis in Niger and the Central African Republic remains unabated, characterized by continued armed attacks, mass displacement of the population, food insecurity, and limited access to healthcare services. In Niger, the extremely volatile security situation along the borders with Burkina Faso, Mali, and Nigeria occasioned by armed attacks from Non-State Actors as well as resurgence in inter-communal conflicts, is contributing to an unprecedented mass displacement of the population along with its associated consequences. Seasonal flooding with huge impact as well as high morbidity and mortality rates from common infectious diseases have also complicated response to the humanitarian crisis. In the Central African Republic, in spite of the recent peace agreement in Khartoum, sporadic outbreaks of violence continue among warring parties leaving the civilian population vulnerable to armed attacks and harassment. While national authorities, along with local and international partners, continue to mount response efforts to these complex and protracted humanitarian crisis, the limited resources and funds available have been overstretched. The need to mobilize additional resources to address funding gaps in these response operations cannot be overemphasized.
The outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in North Kivu, Ituri, and South Kivu provinces in Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to show a declining trend, however, sustained transmission remains in Mandima and Mambasa Health Zones. The lack of access in Lwemba health area in Mandima health zone is of concern and this context needs to be considered when interpreting the decline in the number of cases reported. Notwithstanding, gains have been made in the long fight against the Ebola virus disease in this outbreak and at this critical stage national authorities, along with local and international partners, are challenged to maintain the momentum and intensify response activities, particularly enhanced surveillance to ensure that pockets of new cases are swiftly identified and responded to in order to bring this outbreak to an end.