This Weekly Bulletin focuses on public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 68 events in the region. This week’s main articles cover key new and ongoing events, including:
Measles in Lesotho
Hepatitis E in Namibia
Humanitarian crisis in Mali
Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo.
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 hepatitis E outbreak first identified in Namibia in December 2017 continues, despite response efforts made to date to halt ongoing transmission of the virus. The major drivers of the outbreak remain the same, limited access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor personal and food safety practices. Novel initiatives are therefore needed to address the outbreak such as finalising the review of the relevance and feasibility of a vaccination intervention. There is also a need to sustain conventional control activities, particularly in the informal settlements, and strengthen surveillance and coordination mechanisms in all the affected areas.
The humanitarian situation in Mali remains complex and volatile. The number of IDPs has continued to rise as a result of the deteriorating security context and the impact of floods experienced earlier in the year. As well as supporting the immediate needs of the population, the resilience of the health system to epidemics and public health emergencies needs to be reinforced.
Furthermore, local and international authorities and partners must continue to advocate for peace in the region in order to relieve the suffering of this vulnerable population.