This Weekly Bulletin focuses on public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 63 events in the region. This week’s main articles cover key new and ongoing events, including:
Measles in Democratic Republic of the Congo
Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
Lassa fever in Liberia 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 protracted measles outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to expand, with high morbidity and mortality. Several other countries in the African region are also experiencing measles outbreaks, as well as many countries in other parts of the world. The underlying factor for the measles outbreaks in the African region is the inability of the vaccineadministration systems to reach vulnerable children, rather than low uptake of the vaccines by the recipients – an increasing phenomenon seen in the developed world. Some of the reasons for the low immunization coverage in the African region include inadequacies in healthcare systems and social dislocation due to armed conflicts, poverty, other disasters, etc. The current resurgence of measles is concerning. Health authorities in the African region and the global partners need to double efforts to improve the performance of national immunization programmes to attain the minimum required immunization coverage.
The number of reported Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases in Democratic Republic of the Congo remains low during the reporting week, as most response activities have resumed following the heightened insecurity and civil unrest. While the operational performance indicators were drastically affected, the impact of the disruption in response interventions is not yet evident on the evolution of the outbreak. We remain cautiously optimistic as we continue to monitor the trends. It is commendable that all the Ebola responders from the national authorities, WHO and partners showed exceptional resilience and determination to continue with the response and see the end of the EVD outbreak.