This Weekly Bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 58 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key ongoing events, including:
- Ebola virus disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe
- Cholera outbreak in Niger
- Humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- 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 events that have recently been closed.
Major issues and challenges include:
The cholera outbreaks in Niger and Zimbabwe have been on a downward trend over the past weeks. Although this rapid decline is encouraging, it should be taken with caution. The risk factors for cholera transmission, including inadequate potable water supply as well as limited sanitation and hygiene infrastructure, persist in the affected areas. These risk factors need to be addressed comprehensively with involvement of relevant sectors in order to curb the spread of the disease in areas that remain at high risk for cholera outbreaks.
The Ebola situation in North Kivu remains precarious. The recent increase in the incidence of new Ebola cases, mostly reported in Beni, is of great concern and highlights the multiple challenges faced by response teams who continue to operate in a complex and difficult environment. Security issues have severely hampered key response activities such as contact tracing, active case finding and vaccination. Community mistrust and resistance remain a major obstacle faced by response teams in their effort to control the spread of this outbreak.