The World Health Organization is calling a meeting on Thursday (June 23) to discuss whether the monkeypox outbreak should be declared a global emergency like COVID-19. Some experts, on the other hand, believe that the decisions of the world body are not implemented until after the disease has spread in the West and could still create inequalities that appeared earlier during the coronavirus pandemic. Declaring the monkeypox outbreak a global emergency would signal that the organization views it as an “exceptional event” and a danger that the disease could cross international borders, AP reported.
Currently, most cases of monkeypox are documented in wealthy countries that are taking swift action to stop it, although many scientists doubt such proclamations will help stop the outbreak.
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Oyewale Tomori, a Nigerian virologist who serves on several WHO advisory groups, said: “If the WHO were really concerned about the spread of monkeypox, they could have convened their emergency committee years ago when ‘it reappeared in Nigeria in 2017 and no one knew why we suddenly had hundreds of cases. He added that the WHO only consults its experts after the disease has reached white nations.
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According to David Fidler, senior global health researcher at the Council on Foreign Relations, there may be legitimate reasons why the WHO only sounded the alarm when monkeypox spread to rich countries, but to poor countries. , that sounds like a double standard, .” He further added that the global community was still struggling to ensure that the world’s poor were vaccinated against the coronavirus and that it was unclear whether Africans even wanted monkeypox vaccines, given the competing priorities such as malaria and HIV.
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So far, more than 3,300 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 42 countries where the virus is rare. Among which, Europe represents more than 80% of the cases. More than 1,400 cases including 62 fatalities have already been reported in Africa this year.
Monkeypox had not produced a major outbreak outside of Africa until this month. However, scientists have not found any significant genetic alterations in the virus.
A senior WHO consultant said last month that the recent spike in infections in Europe is likely caused by gay men engaging in sexual activity in Spain and Belgium.
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(With agency contributions)
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Post expires at 12:41pm on Sunday July 3rd, 2022