From Dr Tedros
Equatorial Guinea declared its outbreak of Marburg Virus Disease over, 42 days after the last patient was discharged from treatment.
The outbreak was the first of its kind in Equatorial Guinea, with 17 laboratory-confirmed cases, including 12 reported deaths. In addition, 23 probable cases were reported, all of whom died.
Four patients recovered and have been enrolled in a survivors programme to receive psychosocial and other post-recovery support.
I thank the government of Equatorial Guinea and the affected communities for their response, and the health workers who put themselves in harm’s way to serve others. I honour those health workers who paid the ultimate price for simply doing their jobs.
To support the government’s response to the outbreak, WHO deployed 80 experts in epidemiology, logistics, health operations, risk communications, clinical care and infection prevention and control.
We worked with the health authorities to set up a treatment centre, provided medical supplies and trained health workers, to support safe care for patients, including emergency use of a promising antiviral.
WHO also supported authorities in neighbouring Cameroon and Gabon to ramp up outbreak readiness and response.
We continue to work with Equatorial Guinea to maintain surveillance and testing to enable prompt action should flare-ups occur.
Now to Ukraine, where the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam has caused widespread devastation and human suffering, leading to severe flooding, displacement of communities and significant infrastructure and environmental damage.
The impact on the region’s water supply, sanitation systems and public health services cannot be underestimated.
WHO has rushed in to support the authorities and health care workers in preventive measures against waterborne diseases and to improve disease surveillance.
Our team is in the field, continuously reviewing health needs to support those affected.
In the coming days, WHO will deliver additional supplies to strengthen access to health services.
Next to Haiti, where the humanitarian situation has been deteriorating. Recent torrential rain, flooding and earthquakes have added to a toxic mix of poverty, hunger, violence and disease.
4.9 million people —almost half the population— are expected to face crisis levels of hunger this year.
With armed gangs controlling large areas, insecurity in parts of the country have reached levels comparable to countries at war.
Hundreds have been killed in the violence, and rape and other forms of sexual violence are rampant.
Hunger and disease go hand-in-hand. The cholera outbreak, which began in October last year, continues to simmer, with more than 45 thousand cases and 700 deaths reported.
Other diseases, such as TB, measles and polio, present an active risk.
Essential health services such as routine immunization for children have been severely disrupted. In 2021, only 41% of children had been fully immunized against measles , and we expect that number to be even lower now.
Children are particularly at risk of the deadly combination of hunger and disease. Severely malnourished children are many times more likely to die of diseases like cholera and measles.
Due to problems of insecurity and violence, patients and health personnel have difficulty accessing hospitals and health services, while health facilities are unable to function normally due to fuel shortages.
WHO is working to address the immediate needs of the population in areas affected by the resurgence of cholera, as well as protecting the most vulnerable groups impacted by violence, insecurity and rising poverty levels.
WHO has asked for 37 million U.S. dollars to reach 1.8 million of those in need in 2023.
Haiti is far from the only country where health is imperilled by a lack of access to electricity, or to sources of clean energy.
A new report this week shows that globally, 675 million people still lack access to electricity, most of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa.
Meanwhile, 2.3 billion people globally – more than 1 in 4 – use polluting fuels for cooking, leading to millions of deaths each year.
This puts women and children particularly at greater risk of chronic diseases, while also contributing to climate change and perpetuating gender inequity.
Cooking with solid fuels such as wood, charcoal, coal, crop waste and kerosene is a huge health burden for more than a quarter of the world’s population, particularly for the most vulnerable populations.
WHO is supporting countries to integrate clean cooking into broader energy planning, improving affordability, and devising better delivery mechanisms.
Finally, yesterday marked World Food Safety Day.
Every day, an estimated 1.6 million people around the world become sick from eating unsafe food.
Over 200 diseases, from diarrhoea to cancers, are caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemicals.
Safe food is a primary determinant of human health. To guarantee this right, governments must ensure that food meets safety standards.
These standards are developed by WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, through the Codex Alimentarius, the international standard-setting body for food safety and quality, which this year marks its 60th anniversary.
Another way WHO is supporting countries to make food safe is by harnessing the power of technologies such as whole genome sequencing.
Sequencing the genomes of microbes in food can identify with precision where a germ originated, whether from a food processing facility or a restaurant, pinpointing the source of a food-borne outbreak.
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