WHO Reconvenes Emergency Committee Meeting As Monkeypox Cases Exceed 14,000

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Geneva: The World Health Organization (WHO) has reconvened the Monkeypox Emergency Committee to assess the public health implications of the evolving multi-country outbreak. This comes as global cases passed 14,000, with six countries reporting their first cases last week. The committee first met last month but decided against declaring it a public health emergency of international concern. On Thursday (July 21), WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged his “acute” awareness that any decision regarding the possible determination involves “the consideration of many factors, with the ultimate goal of protecting public health”.

Also Read: Monkeypox Outbreak: WHO Reports 14,000 Cases In Over 70 Countries

The committee has already helped “delineate the dynamics of this outbreak,” he said in his opening remarks to committee members and advisors.

As the outbreak develops, it’s important to assess the effectiveness of public health interventions in different settings, to better understand what works, and what doesn’t.

Monkeypox, a rare viral disease, occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa, though it has been exported to other regions. This year, more than 14,000 cases have been reported across 71 Member States, from all six WHO regions.

Dr Tedros revealed that six countries reported their first cases last week and that the vast majority continue to be among men who have sex with men.

This transmission pattern represents both an opportunity to implement targeted public health interventions, and a challenge because in some countries, the communities affected face life-threatening discrimination, he said.

Also Read: Emergency Nature Of Monkeypox Requires Intense Response Efforts: WHO

He warned of “a very real concern” that men who have sex with men could be “stigmatized or blamed…making the outbreak much harder to track, and to stop”.

As many of you know from your deep engagement with these communities, there is a very real concern that men who have sex with men could be stigmatised or blamed for the outbreak, making the outbreak much harder to track, and to stop, the WHO chief said.

He further affirmed that one of the most powerful tools against monkeypox is information,

The more information people at risk of Monkeypox have, the more they are able to protect themselves, Dr Tedros said.

“Unfortunately, the information shared with WHO by countries in West and Central Africa is still very scant”.

The inability to characterize the epidemiological situation in those regions represents a “substantial challenge” to designing interventions which can control the historically neglected disease.

The UN health agency is working closely with affected communities in all its regions and as the outbreak evolves, has called for increased, “targeted and focused” access to all counter measures for the most affected populations.

Also Read: The Infectivity Of Monkeypox Is Less, But It Can Be Fatal For Children: Expert

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.



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