Africa Health Chief, Ogwell warns Over Disease Outbreaks

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The acting head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ahmed Ogwell Wednesday said Africa should plan to respond effectively to disease outbreaks without international help.

He added that the continent of 1.3 billion people is “on its own” during pandemics.
The health chief reminded Africa that assistance often never materializes and plans must be made to plug gaps in their response to outbreaks such as Ebola in Uganda.

Ogwell said this while speaking in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, where African public health officials and others are meeting to plan cross-border cooperation in responding to Ebola.

He said, “This is not the first outbreak of the Sudan strain of Ebola virus here in Africa and particularly here in Uganda, We, unfortunately, at this time do not have rapid diagnostics for this particular strain. Neither do we have the vaccines for it.”

Recall that Uganda declared an outbreak of Ebola on September 20. And Africa’s 54 countries have not received adequate international support in recent health crises, according to experts. Countries had difficulty getting COVID-19 vaccines.

However, Ogwell lamented the failure of the international community to help African countries improve their capacity to test for monkeypox and control its spread. He said no help has come to Africa, where more monkeypox deaths have been reported this year than anywhere in the world.

“Recently, during the pandemic, when we saw the number of monkeypox cases growing here in Africa, we issued a global alert but no help came to Africa. In fact, today, as we see the tail end of the pandemic, there’s still no help coming to Africa for monkeypox. This means that we need to check the reality that is with us, and the reality for us is that when a public health crisis is big, like the pandemic, Africa is on its own”.

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