Cases of monkeypox in Africa vs elsewhere: is there an unequal response?

A recent increase in monkeypox cases has caused global concern when outbreaks have been detected in countries where they are not common. Monkeypox is a rare disease and its epidemics occur mainly in West and Central Africa. Sometimes it spreads elsewhere.

The spread of monkeypox cases in the US, UK and European countries has health experts concerned. Earlier this week, the European Commission told AFP news agency that the EU was working to centralize purchases of monkeypox vaccines and treatments.

Meanwhile, Africans are seeing an inequity in the way monkeypox outbreaks are being handled elsewhere in the world. Although no deaths have been reported anywhere, more than 250 cases of monkeypox have been reported in countries like Spain, Portugal, Italy, United States, etc.

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The cases have caused panic around the world, with people comparing it to the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that has killed millions over the past two years.

According to an Associated Press report, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that there have been more than 1,400 cases of monkeypox and 63 deaths in four countries where the disease is endemic – Cameroon, the Republic Central African Republic, Congo and Nigeria.

However, the measures to counter the spread were not there in African countries. The bias is evident because after the recent identification of cases, Britain vaccinated more than 1,000 people who were at risk of contracting it. Authorities also purchased 20,000 additional doses.

As mentioned, EU officials are in talks to buy more smallpox vaccine from Bavarian Nordic, the maker of the only such vaccine licensed in Europe, AP reported. US government officials have released about 700 doses of the vaccine.

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As quoted by the AP news agency, Dr Adesola Yinka-Ogunleye, who leads the Nigerian Monkeypox Task Force, said there is currently no vaccine or antiviral used against monkeypox. in his country.

She said those suspected of having monkeypox are isolated and treated conservatively, while their contacts are monitored.

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Dr Jimmy Whitworth, professor of international public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said limited vaccine supplies and competing health priorities have meant that vaccination against monkeypox has not been widely continued in Africa.

“It’s a bit uncomfortable that we have a different attitude towards the types of resources we deploy depending on where the cases are. It reveals moral failure when these interventions are not available to the millions of people in Africa who need it,” he said. as quoted by AP.


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Post expires at 3:49pm on Saturday June 11th, 2022

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