Press releases

WHO AFRO launches new project to help African countries control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases

23 May 2016

WHO AFRO launches new project to help African countries control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases

GENEVA, 23 May 2016 – The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Office for Africa (AFRO) today launched a major new partnership to help African countries reduce the burden of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

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WHO confirms Zika virus strain imported from the Americas to Cabo Verde

20 May 2016

WHO confirms Zika virus strain imported from the Americas to Cabo Verde

BRAZZAVILLE / 20 May 2016 - Sequencing of the virus in Cabo Verde by Institut Pasteur, Dakar confirms that the Zika virus currently circulating in Cabo Verde is the same as the one circulating in the Americas - the Asian type- and was most likely imported from Brazil. This is the first time that the Zika strain responsible for the outbreaks linked to neurological disorders and microcephaly has been detected in Africa.

“The findings are of concern because it is further proof that the outbreak is spreading beyond South America and is on the doorstep of Africa. This information will help African countries to re-evaluate their level of risk and adapt and increase their levels of preparedness,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

As a first step, these countries should heighten risk communication to pregnant women to raise awareness of complications associated with the Asian type of Zika virus and promote protection steps to avoid mosquito bites as well as sexual transmission. In addition, countries should increase their surveillance for Zika transmission and congenital malformations, such as microcephaly, as well as Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Activated since February 2016, WHO Zika Virus Disease Incident Management System in Brazzaville and at Headquarters will continue to review existing risk assessments, increase surveillance, and assess laboratory testing capacity and support community engagement and risk communications in priority countries.  In addition, WHO and its partners will support the countries in the African region to step up preparedness efforts for early detection, confirmation and management of potential complications related to Zika infection. The response will build on investments in strengthened systems made in West Africa during the Ebola emergency. 

Zika in Cabo Verde

As of 8 May 2016, there have been 7557 suspected cases of Zika in Cabo Verde. Three cases of microcephaly have been reported from Cabo Verde with one case reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after being delivered in the United States. So far, no case of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) has been reported from Cabo Verde.

Media inquiries:

Ms Ebba Kalondo
Emergencies Communications Officer, WHO AFRO
Phone: +232 7653 3284
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Mr Collins Boakye-Agyemang
Regional Communications Advisor, WHO AFRO
Mobile: +242 06520 6565
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Ms Nyka Alexander
Media Officer, WHO
Phone: +41 79 634 02 95
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Africa to Intensify Cancer Control through Cancer Registries

10 May 2016

Keeping a cancer registry is essential for comprehensive cancer control in Africa.

Collecting patients’ data in a comprehensive national registry is key to improved and effective cancer care in Africa. This was the main conclusion of a recent workshop held in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo. The workshop brought together health authorities and cancer control experts from 19 francophone African countries. With developing regions accounting for almost 70% of all cancer-related deaths, African experts are working to tackle the disease in a holistic manner.

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Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, calls for change in approach to health systems strengthening to achieve the SDGs

06 May 2016

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa addressing the delegates at the conference

Johannesburg, 06 May 2016 – The World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti has called for a change in approach from treating single diseases to promoting health, and to investing in strong national health systems in order to be able to deliver on people’s demands and expectations.

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Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, calls for change in approach to health systems strengthening to achieve the SDGs

06 May 2016

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa addressing the delegates at the conference

Johannesburg, 06 May 2016 – The World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti has called for a change in approach from treating single diseases to promoting health, and to investing in strong national health systems in order to be able to deliver on people’s demands and expectations.