This Weekly Bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 55 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key new and ongoing events, including:
Humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia
Lassa fever in Benin
Lassa fever in Nigeria
Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever in Uganda
Rift Valley fever 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. Since the beginning of the year, nine events have been closed including outbreaks of foodborne illness in Benin, influenza A H1N1 in Ghana, malaria in Kenya, CrimeanCongo haemorrhagic fever in Mauritania, meningitis and hepatitis E in Niger, dengue fever in Senegal, cholera in Uganda, and anthrax in Zambia.
Major challenges include:
The complex and protracted humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia does not yet show signs of improvement, and current levels of health and other assistance are inadequate to meet the needs of affected populations.
National and international humanitarian actors should urgently scale up response efforts in order to avert a worsening of the crisis in 2018.
The Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria is of significant concern given its national scale and risk of regional spread. Response activities already underway in Nigeria will need to be enhanced to ensure rapid detection and response to new cases. Greater coordination between Nigeria and Benin could also benefit the responses to the concurrent Lassa fever outbreaks in these two countries.