‘Concentrating on COVID-19’… Diseases such as measles increase rapidly in Africa

Measles vaccine vial. AP Yonhap News

Vaccine-preventable diseases have increased rapidly in Africa. This seems to be because the response to measles and polio has been disrupted due to the focus on responding to the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to foreign media on the 28th, World Health Organization (WHO) Africa expert Benido Impuma said that the number of measles cases in the continent reached 17,000 in January and February, a 400% increase from the same period last year.

He explained that the two-year setback by the pandemic has had a major impact on the provision of regular health services, severely impacting immunization work in many countries. Last year, 24 countries confirmed cases of polio, four times more than in 2020. Last year, another 13 countries reported new cases of yellow fever, up from nine in 2020 and three in 2019.

Massidisso Moetti, WHO’s Africa director, said: “The rising incidence of other vaccine-preventable diseases is a warning sign.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Africa has reported 11.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the African continent of 1.3 billion people, with 252,000 deaths. The WHO estimates that the number of COVID-19 cases has been on the decline since January but is increasing as the number of infections in South Africa doubling.



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