This Weekly Bulletin focuses on public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 66 events in the region. This week’s main articles cover key new and ongoing events, including:
- Measles in the Democratic Republic of Congo
- Humanitarian crisis in South Sudan
- Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso.
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 torrential rains and flash floods complicating the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan have added to the complexity of response in this area, affecting around 3 million already vulnerable people. Destruction of health facilities, along with water and sanitation infrastructure, raise the very real possibility of water- and vector-borne disease outbreaks, as well as inadequate supplies of essential medication and interruption of routine vaccination activities. Food security, already at critically low levels, is further threatened. All basic infrastructure needs to be restored, with humanitarian partners and donor agencies working to support the national authorities in providing for the needs of affected communities.
The Ebola virus disease outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, although showing a welcome decline in the number of new confirmed case weekly, continues to show substantive rates of transmission in Mandima Health Zone, in the Biakato mines area, with smaller clusters elsewhere. Ongoing chains of transmission appear to be related to difficulty with contact follow up, shown by sub-optimal contact tracing percentages and continuing detection of new cases among community deaths. These issues need to be addressed urgently in order to finally bring the outbreak to a close.