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Disease outbreaks affect health security

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By Mercy Kelani

There are currently 125 disease outbreaks in WHO African region.

The Senior Adviser of the World Health Organization Global Joint External Evaluation Secretariat, Dr. Hendrick Ormel, has disclosed that there are currently 125 disease outbreaks in WHO African region. According to the list he gave, the diseases include Covid-19, yellow fever, measles, widespread vaccine-derived poliovirus, cholera, monkeypox, and wild poliovirus. The senior adviser added that there are also 20 disasters caused by human beings and nature. They include cyclones, conflicts, civil unrest, drought, and floods.

All the aforementioned diseases and disasters are current happenings in Africa. The countries in the World Health Organization (WHO) African region include Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, and Guinea. Some also include Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, and Mauritius.

Interaction between humans and animals heightens the spread.

Other African countries include Namibia, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, South Africa, Togo, United Republic of Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Out of all the listed African countries, Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, is affected by multiple disease outbreaks which include Covid-19, monkeypox, Lassa fever, cholera, anthrax, measles, yellow fever, meningitis, diphtheria, and other kinds of diseases. According to Ormel, there are some specific reasons for the multiple outbreaks affecting Nigeria, and the African continent as a whole.

Ormel said that some of the major reasons for the multiple outbreaks is poverty and heightened interaction between humans and animals. He further said that the reason of this challenge is due to the geographical location of the continent and the interaction between livestock, wildlife and human beings. He likewise asserted that poverty and corruption are also contributing factors to the reasons why the continent is suffering from the widespread of various kinds of diseases.

Measures to bridge gaps in health security & emergencies are necessary.

According to Ormel, over 60 percent of the diseases on the continent, especially in Nigeria, were transmitted from animals. He added that although it is impossible for WHO to change the climate or geography of the continent, but it is very important that there are implementation of measures to bridge gaps in health security and emergencies. This implementation is very significant to curbing the outbreaks. It is also very much required in hospitals and on the farm.

Also, he added that in Nigeria, one needs to be capable of detecting diseases as soon as possible. The reason is because the sooner the detection, the easier it becomes to respond to the outbreak. The Senior Adviser of the WHO Global Joint External Evaluation Secretariat added that Nigeria needs to ensure empowerment and enable the implementation of the National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) to tackle and fill-in gaps that are present in the country’s health security.

Implementation of the National Action Plan for Health Security.

Identification of the gaps in Nigerian health sector was carried out by the Joint External Evaluation. The implementation of the National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) would also address lessons gotten from the Covid-19 pandemic and other health emergencies. NAPHS is regarded as a domestic multi-year planning procedure that can enable acceleration of the implementation of International Health Regulations core capacities. It also has its basis on a One Health for all-hazards, whole-of-government approach.

Related Link

WHO: Website

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