This Weekly Bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 58 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key new and ongoing events, including:
Humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia
Humanitarian crisis in in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Hepatitis E outbreak in Namibia
Cholera outbreak in Cameroon
Ebola virus disease in the 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 new wave of inter-communal violence within the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia is of serious concern in terms of the population’s health and wellbeing. IDP populations now exceed the size of host communities in some affected wordas with consequential poor conditions in overcrowded shelters, with limited access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities. Already inadequate health services are further overstretched and access to food is a major concern, with food security already an issue in the host communities, as well as an increase in disease outbreaks. The release of US$ 15 million from the UN Central Fund for Emergencies is a step in the right direction. However, substantially more funding will be required to meet the needs of the affected populations.
The ongoing outbreak of hepatitis E since September 2017 in Namibia is of concern. The decline in cases observed in the first quarter of the year has now been reversed and a recent increase in cases is occurring. Of note is that the vast majority of cases are linked to two informal settlements in Windhoek, the capital city. This outbreak has the potential to spread to other informal settlements in the capital as well as other regions of the country through population movement and response actions urgently need to be scaled up.