The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently announced that Africa is facing a surge in outbreaks of preventable diseases due to disruptions caused by Covid-19.
Dr. Benido Impouma, WHO expert in Africa, told in a press briefing that Africa recorded a 400% rise in measles, approximately more than 17,000 cases between January to March, compared to the same period last year.
He also added that continuous disruption by the Covid-19 pandemic for two years has severely disturbed the provisions of health services, with immunization being majorly affected.
Apart from this, WHO stated that 24 countries reported an outbreak of polio in 2021 which is 4 times more than in 2020. Furthermore, in 2021, 13 countries confirmed the outbreak of yellow fever, increasing from 9 in 2020.
Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the regional director for WHO Africa, said in a statement that the proliferating numbers of other vaccine-preventable ailments are a warning sign. The continent is working hard to deal with Covid-19, but authorities should keep an eye on other health threats as well. The health sector could be severely affected not only by coronavirus but by other diseases, she added.
According to the data given by Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the land of 1.3 billion people has confirmed 11.4 million COVID-19 cases, which includes 252,000 deaths.
Although the cases of Covid-19 affected had been low since January, WHO reported a surge in cases driven by doubling of infections in South Africa.
However, WHO official Impouma said that with the surging cases of Covid-19, the organization will support countries to scale up coronavirus vaccination along with routine immunization doses.
The same is true for regular doses as for COVID-19, said Helen Rees, the executive director at HIV institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.