the weekly health point in Africa

(Ecofin Agency) – A mysterious disease reported in Tanzania, a measles epidemic in the DRC, or the Global Fund seeking $18 billion to fight malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis… Summary of some elements of the news from African health this week.

Tanzania: Mysterious disease kills 3 in Lindi region

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Tanzania reports on a mysterious illness that affected 13 people and killed 3 in the village of Mbekenyera (Ruangwa district), located in the Lindi region, in the southeast of the country.

The undiagnosed illness was reported on July 7, 2022, by the Lindi Area Medical Director, according to tanzania ministry of health. For the moment, the samples taken from the patients have allowed Ebola, the Marburg virus or even Covid-19 to be ruled out.

« We have reinforced the team of experts and are now collaborating with the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States “, said the Ministry of Health of Tanzania, this Friday, July 15.

WHO warns of rising animal-borne diseases

The World Health Organization (WHO) sounds the alarm, indicating that the number of zoonotic epidemics (transmitted to humans by animals, such as monkeypox) has increased by 63% in the last ten years on the continent. Within press release this Thursday, July 14t, the African branch of the UN agency indicates that, “Africa faces a growing risk of disease outbreaks caused by zoonotic pathogens, such as monkeypox virus, which originated in animals before changing species and infecting humans”. In fact, between 2001 and 2022, content would have experienced 1,843 verified public health events, 30% of which were zoonotic disease epidemics. The uptrend would have known in particular “a particular peak”, between 2019 and 2020, when zoonotic pathogens accounted for approximately 50% of public health events. This situation would be linked to the growing needs for food derived from animals, linked to population growth, in a context of livestock and invasion of wildlife habitats. Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director-Africa, called for addressing these zoonoses, for example, by increasing research, collaboration and information sharing between health services, communities and countries.

Global Fund seeks $18 billion to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis

The Global Fund, dedicated to the fight against diseases such as tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria, will replenish its resources next September. The Swiss-based non-profit foundation, active in particular in Africa, will meet for this purpose in New York from September 19-21, 2022.

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The Global Fund, created in 2002, seeks to mobilize $18 billion from its donors in the international community to “ save 20 million lives ».

« In just 20 years, our partnership has saved 44 million lives and more than halved the combined death rate from the three diseases in the countries where we invest..», we indicatewhile the Covid-19 pandemic has somewhat rearranged the maps of the global health landscape and has interrupted interest in older diseases, but less present in rich countries.

Somalia: €450,000 in European humanitarian response to measles outbreaks

The European Union announced this Thursday, July 14, 2022, that it will commit additional humanitarian funding of €450,000 to support the fight against life-threatening measles outbreaks in Somalia. This funding, which arises in response to an increase in cases during the 2021-2022 period, aims to support the CAAFIMAD supported by Brussels and led by Action Against Hunger (ACF) to contribute to the reduction of measles morbidity and mortality. . These resources will, in particular, allow CAAFIMAD partners to work combining mass vaccination of children under 15 years of age at the district level, medical management of complicated cases, vitamin A supplementation for children under 5 years of age, and detection of malnutrition followed by adequate care. The interventions cover the most affected districts: South Galkacyo, Baidoa, Afgoye and Bardhere, in south-central Somalia.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the measles epidemic, reported since February, continues to spread in the province of Kasaï-Oriental. According to information from the Provincial Health Directorate (DPS), in one week more than 300 cases have been registered, including 7 deaths, as reported by the specialized media on Wednesday. Outbreak news today.

« There is an increase in the number of cases in recent days. We have recorded around 300 cases including 7 deaths in one week. It must be said that to date there are 17 health zones out of 19 that have reported at least one case. There are 7 new toilets that have already been declared an epidemic. “Said Dr. Nestor Tshiteku, head of the DPS. According to the latter, a vaccination campaign is planned in the affected health areas. At the moment, the epidemic would affect more children from 0 to 59 months. Since February, more than 2,300 measles cases have been reported, including 12 deaths. In total, in 2022 (as of June 19), the Democratic Republic of the Congo had recorded more than 71,300 cases of measles, including about 1,000 deaths, representing a case fatality rate of around 1.4%.

Ethiopia: Measles and chickenpox cases reported in IDP camps in Amhara region

In Ethiopia, measles cases have been reported in the north of the country, in the Berehet and Minjar woredas (districts) located in the Amhara region, and in two sites for internally displaced persons in the city of Debre Birhan. Meanwhile, cases of chickenpox have been reported at the Weleh IDP site in the Wagemra area in the past three weeks, according to the UN.

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According to standard addis means, this occurs in a context of “health crisis” and lack of food in these camps. Other outbreaks are reported, such as those of malaria, rabies and acute watery diarrhea (AAD) that have caused the death of eight people so far, according to figures from the zonal health office. Ethiopia is facing conflict, which officially started in November 2020, particularly in its northern region (Tigray), complicating humanitarian and health responses.

South Africa: End of the measles epidemic in Gauteng province

In South Africa, the measles outbreak in Tshwane, Gauteng province has been declared closed. According to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in a press release dated July 13, as of earlier this week (as of July 11, 2022), there have been no new laboratory-confirmed cases of measles linked to this district. More than 42 days have thus elapsed (two incubation periods), without any case linked to this measles outbreak being detected. The last case, linked to Tshwane, was confirmed in the laboratory on June 25, 2022. It should be remembered that, when this outbreak was declared about two months ago in schools, a measles vaccination campaign had been carried out in nurseries. and schools Gauteng province plans another vaccination campaign targeting children aged 6 months to 14 years to boost immunity and prevent new cases.

Humanitarian crisis in Mozambique

According to the WHO in its latest report on the African region (covering the epidemiological week from June 27 to July 3, 2022), the armed conflict in the northern province of Cabo Delgado in Mozambique, which has been going on since October 2017, continues to escalate, causing widespread displacement and a rapidly worsening humanitarian crisis. More than 700,000 internally displaced persons were reported in the last month, following more recent attacks in the Ancuabe district by non-state armed groups between June 2 and 9, which triggered new displacements in the province of Cabo Delgado (in the northeast of the country). This phenomenon, coupled with the consequent destruction of livelihoods, “exhausting families already coping with limited resources, increasing the adoption of negative coping mechanisms”. According to the UN agency, at least 1.5 million people need humanitarian aid in the north of the country because of the conflict. The situation was further aggravated by Tropical Storm Ana and Cyclone Gombe, which hit the country in January and March respectively this year.

Ayi Renaud Dossavi

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