By Ifeyinwa Ike
The World Health Organisation WHO on Saturday declared the Monkypox outbreak as a Global Health Emergency.
WHO Director General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus who disclosed this at a press conference in Geneva Switzerland, said that he has decided ito declare the Monkypox as a public health emergency of International concern due to the multi-country outbreak and the complexities and uncertainties associated with the public event, even though the global body of health emergency committee was unable to reach a consensus.
He said, ” We have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly, through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little,”
“For all of these reasons, I have decided that the global Monkey pox outbreak represents a Public Health Emergency of International Concern”. He added.
Ghebreyesus said that WHO defines a Public Health Emergency of International concern (PHEIC) as an extraordinary event that constitutes a public health risk to other states through the international spread of disease and potentially requires a coordinated internal response.
According to the NCDC, the Monkeypox virus can be spread through contact with body fluid, sores or items such as clothing and bedding contaminated with the virus. It can as well spread from person to person through respiratory droplets, typically in a close setting.f
Ghebreyesus further explained that it is an outbreak that is concentrated on homosexual especially those who have multiple sexual partners.
“Although I am declaring a public health emergency of International concern, for this moment this is an outbreak that is concentrated among men who have sex with men, that means that this is an outbreak that can be stopped with the right strategies in the right group
t’s essential that all countries work closely with communities of men who have sex with men, to design and deliver effective information and services, and adopt measures that protect the health, human rights and dignity of affected communities.” He stated.
He noted that no fever than 16,000 cases of Monkeypox have been reported across more than 70 countries so far this year, and the number of confirmed infections rose to 77 percent between June and July.
Ghebreyesus warned against stigma and discrimination, stating that it can be as dangerous as any virus.
He called on the Civil Society Organisatíons CSO including those with experience in working with people living with HIV to work with WHO in fighting stigma and discrimination.