This Weekly Bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 75 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key new and ongoing events, including:
- Ebola virus disease in Uganda
- Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Measles in Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Humanitarian crisis in Mali.
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:
The emergence, this week, of a cluster of Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases in Kasese District, western Uganda raised a lot of attention in the region and globally. This event affirmed the continuous risk of spread of the outbreak in the region and re-echoes the importance of enhancing preparedness and readiness measures in the neighbouring countries. The robust response mounted by health authorities in Uganda emphasized one of the key principles of International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005, namely ‘containment at source’. This is premised on attaining requisite capabilities for rapid detection and swift control of health events at their onset, thus preventing escalation of small outbreaks into large epidemics. The event in Uganda is a reminder to all State Parties in the African Region to work towards attaining the core capacities stipulated in the IHR (2005).
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been experiencing recurrent measles outbreaks since 2010, with a significant surge in 2019. The Ministry of Health has formally declared the measles epidemic and is calling for all stakeholders to step up response efforts. The response to the measles outbreak (and many other health events) in Democratic Republic of the Congo have been challenged by under-resourcing, weak health systems, insecurity and social disentanglement.