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 US$18 billion to fight malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis… Overview of some elements of the health news Africans this week.

Tanzania: Mysterious disease kills 3 in Lindi region

Tanzania is reporting a mysterious illness that has affected 13 people and killed 3, in the village of Mbekenyera (Ruangwa district), located in the Lindi region, south-east of the country.

The undiagnosed illness was reported on July 7, 2022, by the medical director of the Lindi region, according to Tanzania’s Ministry of Health. For now, samples taken from patients have made it possible to rule out Ebola, the Marburg virus or even Covid-19.

We have strengthened the team of experts and are now collaborating with the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “, said the Tanzanian Ministry of Health this Friday, July 15th.

WHO warns of rise in animal-borne diseases

The World Health Organization (WHO) is sounding the alarm, indicating that the number of zoonotic epidemics (transmitted to humans by animals, such as smallpox) has increased by 63% in the last ten years on the continent. In a press release dated this Thursday, July 14, the African branch of the UN agency indicates that, “Africa faces an increasing risk of disease outbreaks caused by zoonotic pathogens such as the monkeypox virus, which originated in animals before changing species and infecting humans.”. In fact, between 2001 and 2022, content would have experienced 1843 proven public health events, 30% of which were zoonotic disease epidemics. The upward trend 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, associated with population growth, in a context of livestock and invasion of wildlife habitats. The Doctor. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO-Africa Regional Director, called for combating these zoonoses, for example through increased 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 fighting 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 19 to 21 September 2022.

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The Global Fund, created in 2002, seeks to mobilize US$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 say, while the Covid-19 pandemic has slightly reorganized the maps of the global health landscape and 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, 14 July 2022, the commitment of additional humanitarian funding of €450,000 to support the fight against potentially deadly measles outbreaks in Somalia. This funding, which comes in response to an increase in cases in the period 2021-2022, aims to support CAAFIMAD supported by Brussels, and led by Action Against Hunger (ACF) to contribute to the reduction of measles morbidity and mortality. These resources will, inter alia, allow CAAFIMAD partners to work by combining mass vaccination of children under 15 at district level, medical management of complicated cases, vitamin A supplementation for children under 5 years of age, and screening for malnutrition followed by suitable. Interventions cover the most affected districts: South Galkacyo, Baidoa, Afgoye and Bardhere in south-central Somalia.

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

There is an increase in the number of cases in recent days. We recorded about 300 cases, including 7 deaths in one week. It should be noted that, to date, there are 17 health zones out of 19 that have notified 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. For now, the epidemic would affect more children aged 0 to 59 months. Since February, more than 2,300 measles cases, including 12 deaths, have been reported. In total, in 2022 (as of 19 June), the DRC had recorded more than 71,300 measles cases, including around 1,000 deaths, representing a fatality rate of around 1.4%.

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

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

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According to the Addis Standard media, this takes place against a background of “sanitary crisis” and food shortages in these camps. Other outbreaks are reported, including those of malaria, rabies and acute watery diarrhea (AAD), which have resulted in the death of eight people so far, according to data from the area health office. Ethiopia is facing a conflict, which officially started in November 2020, particularly in its northern region (Tigray), which complicates humanitarian and health responses.

South Africa: End of measles epidemic in Gauteng province

In South Africa, the measles outbreak that spread in Tshwane, Gauteng province, was declared over. According to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in a statement dated July 13, as of earlier this week (as of July 11, 2022), no new measles cases linked to this district have been laboratory confirmed. Thus, more than 42 days (two incubation periods) elapsed, without any case related to this measles outbreak being detected. The last case, linked to Tshwane, was laboratory confirmed on June 25, 2022. It is recalled that, when this outbreak was declared about two months ago in schools, a measles vaccination campaign had been carried out in day care centers . and schools. Another vaccination campaign is planned by Gauteng Province, 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 27 June to 3 July 2022), the armed conflict in the northern province of Cabo Delgado in Mozambique, which has lasted since October 2017, continues to increase. . . , resulting in widespread displacement and a rapidly worsening humanitarian crisis. More than 700,000 internally displaced people were reported last month, following more recent attacks in Ancuabe district by non-state armed groups between 2 and 9 June, which triggered new displacements in Cabo Delgado province (in the northeast of the country). This phenomenon, together with the consequent destruction of livelihoods, “depletes families already with limited resources, which increases the adoption of negative coping mechanisms”. According to the UN agency, at least 1.5 million people are in need of humanitarian aid in the north of the country because of the conflict. The situation was further exacerbated 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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