the weekly health point in Africa

(Agence Ecofin) – Fight against malaria, measles in the DRC, Marbug in Tanzania and Equatorial Guinea: Some major elements of health news in Africa this week.

Fight against malaria: Uncle Sam will support Burundi, Gambia and Togo

Burundi, Gambia and Togo will benefit from the support of the United States in the fight against malaria, through the federal program President’s Malaria Initiative. These three countries will join the beneficiaries of this initiative, as indicated in a press release this week. Co-implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this program creates collaboration with partner country governments and national disease programs. malaria control, to plan and implement tropical disease control activities.

« Mosquitoes do not respect borders. Expansion to additional countries in the West and East Africa corridors would provide increased protection against malaria to populations in new and existing partner countries. The expansion would also allow PMI to further leverage existing U.S. government investments for maximum impact, including those of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. said Dr. David Walton, US Global Malaria Coordinator, when the program expansion was announced.

Overall, the expansion would bring the total number of PMI partner countries to 30, with 27 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, which account for nearly 90% of malaria cases and deaths worldwide.

Burkina Faso: 1 billion additional FCFA to fight against Malaria

In Burkina Faso, the government will devote an additional FCFA 1 billion to the fight against malaria this year. This unprecedented figure was announced by the Minister of Health and Public Hygiene, Dr Robert Kargougou, on the sidelines of the celebration of World Malaria Day (April 25, 2023). The ministry has announced that it will also continue to distribute long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets and will emphasize digitalization in the fight against malaria.

In the Sahelian country, the official celebration of the day was held in Paglayiri, a district of the Burkinabè capital, in the presence of the minister, as well as technical and financial partners from the Department of Health, with the theme “It’s time to get to zero malaria: invest, innovate, implement“.

Marburg in Tanzania and Equatorial Guinea

Concomitant outbreaks of Marburg hemorrhagic fever (MHF) continue in these two countries…. In Tanzania, the Ministry of Health of Tanzania has declared, as of April 16, 2023, nine cases and six deaths (case fatality rate of 66.7%). All the cases were reported in the rural district of Bukoba, in the Kagera region. A total of 212 contacts have been identified, of which 206 have completed their monitoring period.

In Equatorial Guinea, there is instead the 17th confirmed case of Marburg. The Ministry in charge of Health, announced last week, an additional case in Bata. In the central African country, the death rate among confirmed cases has risen to 70.5%, with a total of 12 laboratory-confirmed deaths and 23 deaths in probable cases. The Marburg epidemic was declared there on February 13, 2023.

Generally speaking, the disease has a mortality rate of up to 88%, and does not yet have an approved vaccine for its prevention. However, supportive treatment can help improve chances of survival, including rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids and treatment of specific symptoms.

Senegal: a case of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever

In Senegal, public authorities confirmed a first case of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever on April 21, WHO reports in its latest watch bulletin. This is a 35-year-old patient, a butcher residing in the town of Fadia, district of Guédiawaye, in the region of Dakar, the capital.

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, as a reminder, is a vector-borne viral disease (ticks) very widespread in the countries of Africa, Asia, the Balkans and the Middle East. Animals, mainly cattle, become infected by the bite of infected ticks, allowing transmission of the virus to ticks. Humans can also become infected through contact with infected animal blood and tissues. The mortality rate varies from 10% to 40%.

DRC: 150 measles deaths in Sankuru

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a measles epidemic has been raging for several months in the province of Sankuru.

According to the authorities, more than 5,000 cases have been recorded since the beginning of the year, leading to the death of more than 150 people. All 16 health zones in the province are affected, we learn, but especially those of Lodja and Lomela. Provincial authorities have implemented an accelerated and urgent vaccination program to curb the spread of the measles epidemic. Nationally, the country has recorded 57,167 suspected measles cases with 649 related deaths through March 26. For its part, the WHO urges the Congolese authorities to intensify their efforts to control the spread of the disease by improving vaccination coverage in the country.

Meningitis in Nigeria

Since October 1, 2022, Nigeria has been facing an epidemic of meningitis which has already led to the death of 124 people for a fatality rate of 7%. According the World Health Organizationas of April 16, 2023, 1686 suspected cases have been identified in 81 districts of the country’s 22 administrative states, including the federal capital.

In detail, men represent 57% of suspected cases with a predominance in children aged 1 to 15 years.

Note that Nigeria is particularly affected by the strain Neisseria meningitidis, which is responsible for 91% of PCR-positive cases for bacterial meningitis infections. Since October 2022, an outbreak of meningitis has also been reported in the Zinder region of Niger, which borders Jigawa State. This state alone accounts for 74% of the country’s suspected cases.

Ayi Renaud Dossavi

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