WHO Director’s statement on the Monkeypox situation in Cameroon and neighboring countries

The WHO regional Director of Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti recently held a press conference where he highlighted the state of affairs regarding the Monkeypox virus status in seven countries of Africa, including Cameroon. 

He said that since the beginning of 2022, there have been recorded instances of Monkeypox in Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, the Democratic republic of Congo, Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone. 

“WHO and allies are combining forces to immediately determine the scale and source of the worldwide pandemic. So yet, recorded cases have no confirmed travel linkages to endemic locations. Based on the available information, they have mostly, but not entirely, been detected amongst gay men having sex with men (MSM) requesting care in general care and sexual health clinics.”

“What is critically crucial today is to prevent any risk for a repetition of the inequitable availability of COVID-19 vaccinations encountered by African countries earlier in the epidemic. We must have one integrated worldwide response to the monkeypox virus to prevent it becoming prevalent in other nations. This requires equal access to the appropriate knowledge and tools, and information sharing to enhance understanding of the severity of the situation.”

“African nations may probably have accumulated some immunity against monkeypox. But fair access to effective vaccinations is crucial to safeguard the continent’s especially vulnerable groups, including health professionals and the contacts of patients.”

“As WHO in the African Region, we are working together with African governments, technical as well as financial partners and regional institutions to enhance laboratory diagnosis, disease surveillance, preparedness, and response operations to stem future spread of the virus.”

“We are also giving knowledge in the form of crucial technical advice on testing, clinical treatment, preventing and managing infections, including how to notify and educate people concerning monkeypox and its hazards.”

“As is the case for COVID-19, engagement with communities is crucial to disease prevention measures.

Africa has successfully contained monkeypox epidemics in its history, and falling back on our knowledge about the routes of transmission, the rise in cases may be halted.”