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Africa suffering monkey pox vaccine apartheid  — Experts



Monkey pox

…A medic examining monkey pox vaccine sample

DESPITE flaws exposed in global response to COVID-19, there is little or no lesson learnt in the fight against infectious disease outbreaks in some parts of the world, particularly monkeypox infection.

A group of experts working under the auspices of African Health Forum (AHF) handed down the indictment in a Sensitisation and Awareness Campaign on Monkeypoxand Other Infectious Diseases held in Abuja, yesterday.

Regretting that “the world is seemingly back to the old ways in the global response to monkeypox,” Country Program Director of AHF Nigeria, Dr. EcheyIjezie said “the world may once again lose a chance to control a pandemic.

The zoonotic viral disease, already endemic in 10 countries in West and Central Africa, only drew the world’s attention after affecting people in rich countries in the global north.Wealthy countries’ self-destructive unwillingness to cooperate for the benefit of the global population, is evident again.

This year, there have been dozens of monkeypox cases in Cameroon, Nigeria, and the Central African Republic (CAR), with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) reporting the highest number of infections with over 2,938 cases and 110 deaths.”

African health officials still face the challenge of undercounting due to limited surveillance and testing capacity, which explains the vast discrepancy between confirmed and suspected cases. Additionally, absence of vaccines for front-line health care workers and laboratory technicians in affected countries, puts them in imminent danger. 

It will be recalled that in July, World Health Organisation (WHO) designated global monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).

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