WHO declares monkeypox global health emergency

Posted by News Express | 23 July 2022 | 520 times

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•Monkeypox patient


. . . Says 16,000 cases reported worldwide, virus has spread to more than 70 countries

WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on Saturday raised public concern over the spread of the monkeypox virus as five people have been confirmed dead.

The DG raised the alarm at the end of the Second meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) Emergency Committee in Geneva, regarding the multi-country outbreak of monkeypox

He said that he is hereby transmitting the Report of the second meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) Emergency Committee regarding the multi-country outbreak of monkeypox, held on Thursday, 21 July 2022, from 12:00 to 19:00 CEST.

It was the first time the chief of the UN health agency has taken such an action.

Agency report said that Ghebreyesus made the decision to issue the declaration despite a lack of consensus among experts serving on the UN health agency’s emergency committee.

Ghebreyesus confirmed that the committee had failed to reach a consensus, with nine members against and six in favour of the declaration.

“I know this has not been an easy or straightforward process and that there are divergent views among the members” of the committee," he said.

The WHO advised governments  to raise awareness among doctors and hospitals, take protective measures in suspected cases and educate members of the population on how to protect themselves from infection.

The DG said further he is taking the opportunity to recognizes the complexities and uncertainties associated with this public health event.

He said: “Having considered the views of Committee Members and Advisors as well as other factors in line with the International Health Regulations, the Director-General has determined that the multi-country outbreak of monkeypox constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern”.  

The WHO Director-General  therefore issued Temporary Recommendations in relation to the multi-country outbreak of monkeypox

“These Temporary Recommendations apply to different groups of States Parties, based on their epidemiological situation, patterns of transmission and capacities. Each States Party, at any given point in time, falls either under Group 1 or under Group 2. Some State Parties may also fall under Group 3 and/or Group 4.

“All Temporary Recommendations are expected to be implemented in full respect of established principles of human rights, inclusion and the dignity of all individuals and communities”, a statement issued on Saturday reads.

The statement adds as follows:

Group 1: States Parties, with no history of monkeypox in the human population or not having detected a case of monkeypox for over 21 days

1.a. Activate or establish health and multi-sectoral coordination mechanisms to strengthen all aspects of readiness for responding to monkeypox and stop human to human transmission.

1.b. Plan for, and/or implement, interventions to avoid the stigmatization and discrimination against any individual or population group that may be affected by monkeypox, with the goal of preventing further undetected transmission of monkeypox virus. The focus of these interventions should be: to promote voluntary self-reporting and care seeking behaviour; to facilitate timely access to quality clinical care; to protect the human rights, privacy and dignity of affected individuals and their contacts across all communities.

1.c. Establish and intensify epidemiological disease surveillance, including access to reliable, affordable and accurate diagnostic tests, for illness compatible with monkeypox as part of existing national surveillance systems. For disease surveillance purposes, case definitions for suspected, probable and confirmed cases of monkeypox should be adopted.

1.d. Intensify the detection capacity by raising awareness and training health workers, including those in primary care, genitourinary and sexual health clinics, urgent care / emergency departments, dental practices, dermatology, paediatrics, HIV services, infectious diseases, maternity services, obstetrics and gynaecology, and other acute care facilities.

1.e. Raise awareness about monkeypox virus transmission, related prevention and protective measures, and symptoms and signs of monkeypox among communities that are currently affected elsewhere in this multi-country outbreak (e.g., importantly, but not exclusively, gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) or individuals with multiple sexual partners) as well as among other population groups that may be at risk (e.g., sex workers, transgender people).

1.f. Engage key community-based groups, sexual health and civil society networks to increase the provision of reliable and factual information about monkeypox and its potential transmission to and within populations or communities that may be at increased risk of infection.

1.g. Focus risk communication and community support efforts on settings and venues where intimate encounters take place (e.g., gatherings focused on MSM, sex-on-premises venues). This includes engaging with and supporting the organizers of large and smaller scale events, as well as with owners and managers of sex on premises venues to promote personal protective measures and risk-reducing behaviour.

1.h. Immediately report to WHO, through channels established under the provision of the IHR, probable and confirmed cases of monkeypox, including using the minimum data set contained in the WHO Case Report Form (CRF).

1.i. Implement all actions necessary so as to be ready to apply or continue applying the set of Temporary Recommendations enumerated for Group 2 below in the event of first-time or renewed detection of one or more suspected, probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox”.


Source: News Express

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