Health experts eye plan to eradicate Monkey pox in Africa

Health experts eye plan to eradicate Monkey pox in Africa

Africa is seeking ways to strengthen its response to the growing threat of the Monkey Pox Virus across the region.

In a statement seen by The City Review on Monday, the Head of the Executive Office of the Africa Centres for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), Ngashi Ngongo, emphasised the need to find ways to prevent the spread of Monkey-Pox, also known as Simian pox in the continent.

“Facilitate the strengthening of preparedness and response capacity to mitigate the impact of Mpox in Africa and beyond, strengthen effective surveillance, national laboratory capacity, rapid epidemic response, and engagement with affected communities,” Ngongo said.

Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, reiterated their commitment to support the efforts through communication and community engagement.

“We will be working on many aspects of the subject. We will start at the local, national and global level. We are there and we will work with governments to move this agenda forward,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Prof. Jean-Jacques Muyembe, a renowned virologist and co-discoverer of the Ebola virus, noted that the urgency of the situation is clear.

“Very recently in the DRC, for the first time we observed sexual transmissions of MPOX, and so if we take this sexual, heterosexual transmission, we take the severity, we take the spread of the disease, almost every province is affected. It’s a public health emergency,” he stressed.

He pledged to coordinate efforts in diagnostics, laboratory optimization and vaccine research. 

According to the statement, the situation is alarming, with over 92,000 human cases reported in more than 110 countries.

“Every day counts in the fight against Mpox, and there is an urgent need to improve the effectiveness of the response to this epidemic. That’s why the health ministers of 12 African countries have decided to work together to create an action plan to combat Mpox,” it added.

In 2023, the DRC was one of the hardest-hit countries, recording 14,600 cases and 654 deaths. 

However, the plan includes measures to prevent, detect and control the spread of the disease, protect African populations and ensure a safer, more resilient future for all.

On April 13, nearly 250 experts gathered in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) under the aegis of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Africa (CDC), to develop strategies to stem the spread of this disease in the African region.