Africa faces more infectious diseases outbreaks every year than any other region, the World Health Organisation’s Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti has said.
Moeti said healthcare systems in West Africa were weaker than in other parts of the continent.
The WHO stated that apart from the COVID-19 pandemic, West Africa had been facing cases of viral haemorrhagic fever – Marburg and Ebola – and risking huge strains on ill-equipped health systems.
“We are particularly concerned about West Africa; fighting multiple outbreaks is a complex challenge,” Moeti said.
Ivory Coast began vaccinating health workers in the commercial capital Abidjan on Monday after a case of the deadly virus, Ebola was confirmed over the weekend.
The country on Saturday declared its first case of Ebola since 1994. Authorities said it was an isolated case of an 18-year-old girl who travelled from neighbouring Guinea.
Last week, health authorities in Guinea confirmed one death from Marburg, which is similar to Ebola.
Meanwhile, the WHO’s data shows that West Africa in the past month recorded the highest number of COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began, and cases are surging in Ivory Coast, Guinea and Nigeria – all three of which have recently been hit with other outbreaks.
According to the WHO, Ivory Coast has identified an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu near the commercial capital Abidjan and has taken steps to curb its spread.
“Facing three outbreaks at the same time, for any health system, is a very difficult situation,” Ivory Coast’s Director-General of health, Mamadou Samba said.
Samba did not respond directly to a question about how many of the many dozens of people who rode on a bus with the girl who travelled to Ivory Coast from neighbouring Guinea had been identified.