ETHIOPIA – The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has published key recommendations for Africa Union (AU) Member States to curb the spread of monkeypox cases in the African continent amid outbreak.

Africa CDC has encouraged AU Member States to establish and strengthen laboratory diagnostic and genomic sequencing capacity for orthopoxviruses including monkeypox as well as introduce and beef up surveillance and contact tracing capacities to include monkeypox.

AU member have been urged to develop and widely distribute both general and tailored risk communication messages for the community at large as well as any specific populations currently impacted and at risk.

Africa CDC issued the preventive recommendations for AU Member States following the declaration by the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) that the multi-country monkeypox (MPX) outbreak to be a global public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).

Africa CDC is communicating with global partners to secure adequate access to test kits and vaccines by AU Member States.

The specialized agency further advised AU MSs to expand knowledge of monkeypox clinical management and infection prevention control measures as well as secure adequate test kits, therapeutics and vaccines as needed at country level.

In addition, the public health agency revealed that the Africa CDC Emergency Operations Centre has moved to response mode to support preparedness and response efforts of African Union Member States in close collaboration with relevant partners.

Africa CDC warned that there are growing concerns about the increase in the number of monkeypox confirmed cases recorded across the world including the reporting of over 16,500 cases and 75 deaths from 75 countries globally this year.

According to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 are Africa Union Member States are accounting for approximately 12% of all reported cases with the highest case fatality rate (CFR) globally specifically CFR stands at 3.7%.

The public health agency cautioned that a total of 2,031 patients including 250 confirmed cases and 1,781 suspected cases as well as 75 deaths of monkeypox have been reported in Africa from nine endemic and two non-endemic AU MS

Africa CDC further stressed that the MPX outbreak in Africa continues to grow from one country to another at a time when the critical tools required in outbreak preparedness and response including diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines have not yet been made readily available to AU Member States.

Although MPX is an endemic disease in Africa, the continent has no vaccines while access to test kits is very limited. The inequity and delayed access to COVID-19 tools in Africa should not be repeated with MPX which has been a public health emergency since 2020,” warned the Africa CDC.

Recently, the Africa CDC partnered with the Nigerian Centres for Disease Control (NCDC) and the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) to trained 20 AU MS on MPX diagnostics in ongoing efforts to curb the spread of monkeypox virus.

The Africa CDC reaffirmed that the body will continue to coordinate sequencing support to AU MS as a monitoring tool for any variants of MPX, noting that the agency has engaged with ministries of health of the highly affected Member States to provide support to areas of high need.

Other response activities include the Africa CDC  distributing test kits to AU MSs to support surveillance and detection needs in both endemic and non-endemic countries while additional rounds of laboratory diagnosis trainings are planned for delivery in these countries.

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