WHO: Multiple disease outbreaks ongoing in the Horn of Africa

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned over multiple disease outbreaks that are ongoing in the Horn of Africa region as countries in the region face serious food insecurity.

The WHO, in its Horn of Africa food insecurity and health situation update, said countries in the region are facing a serious food insecurity crisis due to failed rainy seasons as well as flooding in other areas and various other factors.

“Multiple disease outbreaks are ongoing in the Horn of Africa region,” the WHO said.

In Djibouti, the disease outbreaks include measles, malaria, dengue, and acute watery diarrhea (AWD). It said as of November 2022, some 546 suspected cases of measles were reported in the country. Various vaccination campaigns had significantly interrupted the transmission of the disease, resulting in a decreased infection rate by the end of 2022.

In Ethiopia, the WHO said the risk of further disease outbreaks remains high, which is currently in the grip of cholera and measles outbreaks in drought-affected areas. As of Dec. 14, some 669 cholera cases were reported, with 24 associated deaths.

In Kenya, measles outbreaks have been reported in six counties, the WHO said, adding 392 cases were reported from June 26 to Dec. 31.

The WHO said increased incidents of waterborne diseases, especially cholera and pathogens causing AWD, have been observed among the drought-affected populations in Somalia.

South Sudan has reported sustained cases of measles, and hepatitis E. The increase in measles cases continues across most of the states in South Sudan and confirmed cases have been reported from 15 counties since the beginning of 2022, it said.

The WHO said it continues to provide support by coordinating the efforts of health sector partners, in addition to scaling up its assistance to the seven countries in the region to enable them to detect and respond to disease outbreaks. ■

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