ANA ESTELA DE SOUSA PINTO
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (FOLHAPRESS) – In the year of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world experienced another 60 health emergencies, including major outbreaks of chikungunya, yellow fever and measles, the World Health Organization said on Sunday (8). . Seven of them were considered grade 3, the most severe, according to the report on the organization’s website.
According to the entity, annual measles mortality data in 2019 – due to be released next week – will show a strong negative impact of the largest number of new infections in more than two decades, and the situation could prove even worse this year.
Countries hard hit by diseases other than Covid-19 include Mexico, Chad, Gabon and Togo. International health impacts were also caused by floods in Sudan, storms in the Philippines and Vietnam, explosion in Beirut and fire in a refugee camp in Greece.
On Friday (6), WHO and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) launched an urgent appeal to try to prevent major measles and polio epidemics. Entities say the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect vaccination services, “leaving millions of children vulnerable at risk for preventable childhood diseases.”
The global resurgence of measles, with continuing outbreaks in all parts of the world in recent years, is likely to be compounded by even greater gaps in vaccination coverage in 2020, the entities say.
At the same time, poliovirus transmission is expected to increase in Pakistan and Afghanistan and in many subimmunized areas of Africa. Failure to eradicate polio would now lead to a global resurgence of the disease, resulting in up to 200,000 new cases per year within 10 years, the entities say.
One of the most complex health emergencies faced by WHO was the joint occurrence of the largest measles outbreak of all time in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the second largest Ebola virus outbreak.
The organization announced that, after 18 months of fighting, the Ebola outbreak has been controlled in the east of the country. A final outbreak in the western region is still active.