Africa’s weekly health bulletin

(Ecofin Agency) – Every Saturday, Ayi Renaud Dossavi provides health news in Africa.

More than a million children vaccinated against malaria

More than a million children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi have now received one or more doses of the world’s first malaria vaccine as part of a pilot program coordinated by the World Health Organization. Malaria vaccine pilot projects, first launched by the Malawian government in April 2019, showed that the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) vaccine “is safe and reliable and significantly reduces deadly severe malaria”whereupon it was recommended by the UN agency in October 2021.

Also read: Malaria: WHO approves the first malaria vaccine and supports its widespread use

As a malaria researcher early in my career, I dreamed of the day when we would have an effective vaccine against this devastating disease. said dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. ” This vaccine is not just a scientific breakthrough, it is transforming the lives of families across Africa. It demonstrates the power of science and innovation for health. Despite this, there is an urgent need to develop more and better tools to save lives and advance towards a malaria-free world. »

The program is notably supported by the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, which has committed more than $155 million to support the introduction, purchase and delivery of the malaria vaccine in several sub-Saharan countries. Ultimately, if rolled out on a large scale, the vaccine could save the lives of an additional 40,000 to 80,000 African children each year, some experts estimate.

Health update for the previous week (WHO)

In its weekly bulletin on public health emergencies in the African region, the WHO Health Emergencies Program announces that it is monitoring 151 events across the continent during the week of April 11-17, 2022. The most highlighted events are: measles in Chad, Lassa fever in Nigeria and the COVID-19 situation in the region.

Measles in Chad: 1,138 cases; 1 death; Mortality at 0.1%

The measles epidemic in Chad has been monitored by the WHO since May 2018. The total number of suspected cases from January 1 to April 4, 2022 reached 1,138 with one fatality (CFR 0.1%). The highest number of cases in 2022 was reported in week 12 (to March 27) with 210 cases. A total of 87 (62.6%) of the country’s 139 districts have reported suspected measles cases, but only 22 (15.8%) of them experience an active measles outbreak during week 13 (ending April 4, 2022), so the WHO. Of the districts currently in the measles epidemic phase are N’Djamena Center (287), N’Djamena South (135), N’Djamena East (94), N’Djamena North (88), Bongor (57 ) and N’Djamena The 9th district (43) reported the most cases. Among a subset of 339 cases with available demographic information, 282 (83.2%) were less than 10 years old.

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Although the development this year is similar to the epidemiological trends of 2021, the cells note a big improvement compared to 2019 and 2020. An improvement attributed to the two-round vaccination campaign implemented in 2021, one launched in January 2021 and the other in March 2021. The campaign had by then covered over 1.62 million children aged 9 to 59 months recorded in over 60 districts. Overall, due to the low immunization coverage in the country, “Chad threatened by further measles outbreaks‘ states the WHO.

Lassa fever in Nigeria: 3,746 cases, 132 deaths, mortality rate at 3.5%

From the week of January 9 to early April 2022, Nigeria has reported a total of 3,746 suspected cases of Lassa fever, including 691 confirmed and 132 fatalities (CFR = 3.5%) in 23 of the country’s 93 states. The WHO notes a decrease in the weekly number of laboratory-confirmed cases compared to the same period in 2021. Of the total confirmed cases, 67% are from Ondo (28%), Edo (24%) and Bauchi (15%).

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The age group of 21 to 30 year olds is most affected (range: 1 to 80 years, median: 30 years). In contrast, the number of suspected cases increased from 1508 cases in week 1 to week 13 in 2021 to 3746 cases in 2022 for the same period, doubling the number of suspected cases reported in the previous year.

Floods in South Africa: more than 400 dead, natural disaster declared

The South African government has declared a state of natural disaster in response to floods that have devastated KwaZulu-Natal and parts of the Eastern Cape. On April 11 and 12, 2022, parts of KwaZulu-Natal fell between 200 and 400 millimeters of rain in 24 hours, affecting all parts of the province.

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To date, there are 443 dead and around 48 missing in KwaZulu-Natal. One death was also reported in areas of the Eastern Cape near rivers and streams, including informal settlements, where many homes were swept away.

Cholera in Zambia

A cholera outbreak was reported in Zambia on April 11, 2022. Four people were suspected of having cholera and at least two people were confirmed to have cholera Vibrio cholerae Ogawa 01.

Situation of Covid-19 in Africa: the decrease in cases remains constant.

Overall: 8.22 million cumulative cases, 170,000 cumulative deaths, a mortality rate of 2.1%.

In the week ending April 17, 2022, nearly 12,000 new Covid-19 infections and 74 new deaths were reported in 33 and 12 countries in the WHO African region. This corresponds to a decrease in the number of cases by 23.0% and in deaths by 1.3%. Likewise, a decrease in the number of weekly deaths from Covid-19 was observed in the African region between April 11 and April 17, 2022 compared to the previous week.

A total of 27 countries (57.0%) reported a decrease of 20% or more in the number of new cases, while Cabo Verde, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Uganda and Zambia saw an increase of 20% or more in the number of weekly new cases in comparison to the previous week. As of April 17, 2022, the cumulative number of infections in the African region of WHO is 8,286,420 and 170,471 deaths. More than 7.6 million healings were registered, which corresponds to a healing rate of 93.0%.

Ayi Renaud Dossavi

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