Brazzaville, 21 August 2019 – With an acute public health event reported every four days on the continent, it is more important than ever before for African countries to be able to respond to health emergencies. African health ministers today adopted a 10-year regional strategy that aims to strengthen integrated disease surveillance and response and mitigate the devastating impact of outbreaks, such as Ebola.

Africa has more outbreaks and other health emergencies than any other region of the world, and many of them could be prevented or controlled through proven public health interventions.

Worryingly, recent analysis by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and other public health emergencies are on the rise, predictably in certain areas and unpredictably in other places. This increase is largely attributed to the growth of cross-border movements and international travel, increasing human population density and informal settlements along with climate change impacts and changes in the way humans and wild animals interact. More than 80% of the public health emergencies in the WHO African Region between 2016 and 2018 were due to infectious diseases.

 

(CC BY-ND 2.0), flickr, Eric Bridiers

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