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 ongoing events, including:
Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Rift Valley fever in Kenya
Cholera in Angola
Cholera in Tanzania
Humanitarian crisis 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 events that have recently been closed.
Major issues and challenges include:
- The Ministry of Health and WHO continue to closely monitor the outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On 27 June 2018, all the people who were exposed to the last confirmed EVD case-patient completed their mandatory 21-day follow up without developing symptoms. This is an important milestone.
The countdown to the end of the EVD outbreak, therefore, began on 12 June 2018 when the last confirmed case-patient was discharged from the Ebola treatment centre (ETU) in Bikoro. The response is now focused on intensive surveillance, including active case finding and investigation of suspected cases and alerts. In spite of this progress, there is a need to continue with intense response until the outbreak is finally controlled.
- The complex humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo remains dire. There are many ongoing health emergencies in the country, with serious public health and socioeconomic implications.
Notably, in week 24 alone, there were 634 cholera cases with 34 deaths and 536 cases of measles.
While the global attention is focused on containing the EVD outbreak, we should not lose sight of the many and much deeper public health issues in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Proportionate resources need to be provided to these health emergencies on account of their consequences on the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and humanity.