This Weekly Bulletin focuses on selected acute 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 edition covers key ongoing events, including:
- Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique
- Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Dengue fever in Mauritius
- Measles in Chad
- 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 recent events that have largely been controlled and thus closed.
Major issues and challenges include:
Challenges associated with insecurity and pockets of community mistrust continue to characterize the response to the Ebola virus disease outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo. Several major security incidents occurred in Butembo and its neighbouring health zones during the reporting week, leading to momentary suspension of response activities in the area. While response operations have resumed, we expect that the disruption of activities due to restricted access will result in a further rise in the number of cases in the coming days. In addition to the insecurity and complex socio-political environment, the response activities continue to suffer from funding gaps. The implementation of proven public health measures must continue, while a major surge in political and financial support from all national and international actors is urgently needed in order to bring this outbreak to end. The national and local authorities, WHO and partners remain committed to this cause.
While good efforts have been made in response to the effects of the Tropical Cyclone Idai that hit Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe early in March 2019, more humanitarian assistance is needed. All the three affected countries are still facing challenges around access to affected populations, risks of communicable diseases, limited access to healthcare services, and resettlement of displaced persons in the light of the massive destruction of homes, infrastructure and crops at a crucial time of the year. The national authorities, partners and donors need to step up provision of aid assistance in order to prevent long-term humanitarian crises in a large area of southern Africa.