This Weekly Bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 57 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
- Anthrax (suspected) in Namibia
- Measles in Madagascar
- Typhoid fever in Zimbabwe
- Humanitarian crisis in Mali.
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 are thus closed.
Major issues and challenges include:
The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, Democratic Republic of the Congo continues, with occurrence of new cases and deaths. It is now clear that informal health centres are a major source of amplification of the outbreak. There are also instances of risky practices in the community, for example, the exhuming (this week) of a dead body of a confirmed case that was safely buried. Such practices only help to aid further transmission of the disease. This EVD outbreak remains dangerous and unpredictable, calling for strong measures.
A complex but little known humanitarian crisis has been ongoing in Mali since 2012, arising from underlying political conflict and insecurity. The situation has been deteriorating since the beginning of 2018, with increasing mass population displacement, food insecurity, acute malnutrition, and disease outbreaks. However, the capacity to respond to the humanitarian needs is severely limited due to a lack of access in the conflict-affected areas as well as under-funding. The complex humanitarian crisis in Mali calls for greater involvement and support from the global community.