Africa and the Americas account for half of new diseases reported to WHO

by MMC
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Half of the approximately 5,807 new disease reports received by the World Health Organization (WHO) came from the African Region and the Region of the Americas, the new Global Public Health Information Report 2022 has revealed.

The report shows that Africa and the Americas contributed 30 percent and 24 percent of that half, with infectious diseases being the predominant cause.

However, in recent years, WHO has noted an increase in the proportion of events due to disasters in several regions.

The leading cause of acute public health events worldwide in 2022 was infectious diseases (83%), while the second most common cause was disasters (7%).

This is the second global report on public health intelligence activities at WHO. It covers activities undertaken between 2003 and 2022, focusing on activities in 2022.

It builds on previous bi- and triregional reports from the WHO Region of the Americas, the WHO European Region and the WHO African Region.

Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, said climate change was having a growing impact, either directly through extreme weather events or indirectly as a driver of the spread of infectious diseases. .

And this, even though infectious diseases constitute the vast majority of health threats detected by the WHO and to which it responds.

Ryan explained that the agency’s public health intelligence activities are carried out 24 hours a day, every day of the year, by dedicated teams at its headquarters and in its regional offices, in close collaboration with the offices national governments and partners.

Highlighting the importance of collaboration and engagement between WHO and States Parties under the International Health Regulations (2005), Ryan said: “Collaboration is the foundation without which detection, verification activities , risk assessment and information sharing cannot function optimally.

In 2022, almost 7,000 signals were detected worldwide, for which 351 verification requests were sent, in accordance with the International Health Regulations IHR (2005), as not all detected signals require a verification request, says the report.

A response was received for the majority of requests (89%), of which 231 (66%) were received within 48 hours of the request being sent.

In total, in 2022, 457 new events were recorded in the event management system, which were either verified signals or events directly reported under the IHR (2005) by a national International Health Regulations focal point.

Just over half of these events (55%) were initially reported by NFPs or official national government channels, which is higher than the global estimate from the previous five years.

All events recorded in EMS were subject to a risk assessment and, in addition, 65 more detailed rapid risk assessment reports were produced and disseminated in 2022. In addition, more than 200 bulletins or announcements of Event information and 74 disease outbreak update reports were distributed in 2022. WHO regions regularly produce region-specific risk assessments, bulletins and situation reports.

This report highlights the importance of public health intelligence globally, according to the WHO.

It highlights the key role of the IHR (2005) framework for WHO engagement with States Parties for detection, verification, risk assessment and information sharing regarding events that may constitute an emergency public health of international concern.

The COVID-19 pandemic and several other recent large-scale outbreaks, such as the Ebola and cholera outbreaks, have highlighted the vital role of public health intelligence in the global health architecture.

In a world facing increasing health threats, continued support and strengthening of public health intelligence is essential and essential to confront and mitigate tomorrow’s health emergencies.

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