This Weekly Bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 50 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key new and ongoing events, including:
- Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Dengue fever in Mauritania
- Dengue fever in Senegal
- Humanitarian crisis in Cameroon.
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 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to evolve. With a total of 329 confirmed/probable cases, this event has now become the largest EVD epidemic in the country’s history - outnumbering the first outbreak that occurred in Yambuku in 1976, during which 318 confirmed/probable cases were reported. However, the death toll of 205 is still lower than the 250 deaths that occurred in Yambuku.
New EVD cases and deaths continue to emerge, and three health zones reported confirmed EVD cases for the first time during the reporting week. The Ministry of Health, WHO and partners continue to adopt dynamic strategies and new measures in response to the challenging response environment. Specifically, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUSCO, has taken a more active role in the response. Although the outbreak situation remains dangerous and unpredictable, it is anticipated that the dynamic approaches being undertaken will bring the outbreak to an end.
- The humanitarian situation in Cameroon, arising from conflicts within and outside the country, is fast deteriorating. The internal socio-political unrest has escalated into a fully-fledged armed rebellion, with serious negative consequences. The latest abduction of civilians, including school children raised a lot of public concern. There has been mass population displacement, both internally and to neighbouring Nigeria, while provision of healthcare services has been disrupted. With the near collapse of the healthcare system and deteriorating living conditions in the North-west and South-west regions, the risk of excess morbidity and mortality in the populations is high. To that effect, this situation needs to be averted.