This Weekly Bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 59 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key ongoing events, including:
Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Cholera in Cameroon
Cholera in Tanzania
Humanitarian crisis in Central African Republic
Humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia.
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 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is evolving, with new confirmed cases and deaths occurring. Genomic sequencing has confirmed that the North Kivu outbreak is unrelated to the one that occurred in Equateur Region, though both were caused by the same Ebola virus strain. This finding is important to inform the response to the outbreak, particularly the application of new tools such as vaccines and therapeutic medicines.
The prime priority remains rapidly setting up effective response structures on the ground. Nonetheless, the prevailing insecurity in the affected province could influence several aspects of the response, including the model, strategy, timeliness, etc. Good progress has, so far, been made in the given circumstances. The national authorities and partners need to continue mobilizing the requisite resources to rapidly set up strong response structures and systems on the ground.
- Cameroon has been experiencing a cholera outbreak in the North Region since May 2018, and the Central Region was affected later in the year in July 2018. Littoral Region is also reporting increasing number of acute watery diarrhoea cases, though no laboratory confirmation of etiology has been made. While the outbreak remains insidious and is beginning to improve, there are key issues that require attention, including the high case fatality ratio and the delay in establishing the etiology of the acute watery diarrhoea in Littoral Region. Additionally, rising levels of insecurity and the presence of refugees and internally displaced people in several parts of the country are potential risk factors. This cholera outbreak calls for keen attention from the national authorities and partners to avoid escalation of the situation.