Friday, August 12 2022

NAIROBI, Aug 19 (Reuters) – The World Health Organization warned on Thursday that in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, West Africa is facing new outbreaks of viral hemorrhagic fevers Marburg and Ebola , risking straining ill-equipped health systems.

The new outbreaks show the multitude of challenges facing governments alongside the COVID-19 pandemic, Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said at a press conference on Thursday.

“We are particularly concerned about West Africa,” Moeti said. “Fighting multiple outbreaks is a complex challenge.”

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Ivory Coast began vaccinating health workers against Ebola in the commercial capital Abidjan on Monday after a case of the deadly virus was confirmed over the weekend. Read more

The country declared its first case of Ebola since 1994 on Saturday. Authorities said it was an isolated case of an 18-year-old girl who traveled from neighboring Guinea. Read more

And last week, Guinean health authorities confirmed a death from Marburg, which is similar to Ebola.

Africa faces more infectious disease outbreaks each year than any other region, Moeti said.

Health systems in West Africa in particular are weaker than in other parts of the continent, she added, although the WHO has not given precise figures for staffing or rates. hospital bed occupancy in the region.

Meanwhile, WHO data shows West Africa recorded the highest number of COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic last month, and COVID-19 cases are rising. in Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Nigeria, all three of which have recently been affected by other outbreaks.

Separately, Ivory Coast has identified an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza near the commercial capital Abidjan and has taken steps to curb its spread, the government said on Thursday. Read more

“Dealing with three epidemics at the same time, for any health system, is a very difficult situation,” said Mamadou Samba, director general of health in Côte d’Ivoire, at the same conference in hurry.

Samba did not respond directly to a question about how many of the dozens who boarded a bus with the girl who had traveled to Ivory Coast from neighboring Guinea had been identified.

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Reporting by Maggie Fick; Editing by Hugh Lawson

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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