Press releases

Down to zero – Nigeria on the path to polio eradication

11 September 2015

Down to zero – Nigeria on the path to polio eradication

Abuja, 11 September 2015 - There’s starting to be a breath of fresh air for parents in Africa, and around the world, as Nigeria approaches being removed from the notorious polio-endemic list. From more than 1122 cases in 2006 to zero today, Nigeria has made tremendous progress in polio eradication with no children being paralyzed in more than one year.

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Child mortality rates plunge by more than half since 1990 but global MDG target missed by wide margin

09 September 2015

Child mortality rates plunge by more than half since 1990 but global MDG target missed by wide margin

9 September 2015 - Child mortality rates have plummeted to less than half of what they were in 1990, according to a new report released today. Under-five deaths have dropped from 12.7 million per year in 1990 to 5.9 million in 2015. This is the first year the figure has gone below the 6 million mark.

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Polio outbreak confirmed in Mali

07 September 2015

Bamako, 7 September 2015 – A case of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) has been confirmed in Bamako, the capital and largest city of Mali. The country is on high alert after national authorities detected a paralysis case with onset 20 July 2015. The patient is a 19-month old child of Guinean nationality whose paralysis occurred 7 days prior to the child’s arrival in Bamako to seek health care. The last case of wild polio virus (WPV) in Mali dates back to June 2011 in Goundam, Timbuktu Region.

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WHO staff on the ground essential to breaking Ebola transmission chains

24 August 2015

Contact tracing in Sierra Leone

Freetown/ Brazzaville, 24 August 2015 – Ongoing efforts to get to zero Ebola cases in Sierra Leone are yielding good results. This follows a massive deployment of experts by the World Health Organization and partners, to track and break each and every transmission chain of Ebola virus disease (EVD) through linking intensive community engagement and social mobilization efforts with surveillance and contact tracing.

The tracking and breaking of transmission chains requires tremendous numbers of qualified staff to work with the communities to identify if a person has been in contact with someone infected with EVD, monitor them for symptoms for up to 21 days, and to quickly isolate and treat them in a treatment centre if symptoms develop.

“Stopping Ebola transmission chains has required rapid mobilization of human and financial resources; this has been my top priority since my appointment,” says Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

“Over 530 highly-skilled staff are currently deployed in Ebola affected countries through the Regional Office for Africa [AFRO] and many have taken on key leadership roles that have greatly facilitated community and social mobilization from the household up to the chiefdom/ward level,” adds Dr Moeti.

Through WHO’s strong leadership and coordination role among partners, as well as the consistent technical work on the ground, Sierra Leone is down to a single transmission chain. As at 24 August 2015, zero confirmed Ebola cases have been reported for the last two consecutive weeks. WHO’s integrated Ebola response, working with partners, has contributed significantly to this progress, as has the scaling up of community-owned social mobilization efforts aimed at getting to zero cases in West Africa.

“Staff from the Regional Office continue to support and harmonize actions to address the deeply entwined health, economic and social challenges that are being seen in Ebola affected countries,” said Dr Ibrahima-Soce Fall, Director of the Health Security and Emergencies Cluster at the WHO Regional Office for Africa.

“In addition, AFRO staff will continue to play essential roles in supporting recovery in the countries, especially strengthening health systems and building the needed capacities in order to prevent, detect and respond to Ebola and other public health threats,” adds Dr Fall.

Despite significant progress in the fight against Ebola, 38 contacts are still under monitoring in Sierra Leone, and 600 in Guinea, as of 24 August 2015. To get to zero cases in West Africa, WHO AFRO will continue to provide technical expertise and work with communities to better synergize efforts towards strengthening early warning systems and response.

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For more information, please contact:

Technical contacts:
Dr Ibrahima-Soce Fall; Tel: +472 413 9695; Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Dr Zabulon Yoti; Tel: +472 413 9915; Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Communications contacts:
Collins Boakye-Agyemang; Tel: + 472 413 9420; Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Dr Cory Couillard; Tel: + 472 413 9995; Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Courtesy call of German Ambassador to WHO Regional Office for Africa

18 August 2015

Courtesy call of German Ambassador to WHO Regional Office for Africa

Brazzaville, 18 August 2015 – The German Ambassador to the Republic of Congo, His Excellency Thomas Strieder paid a courtesy call on the World Health Organization Regional Office in Djoue, Brazzaville where he was received by Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa.

During the visit, they discussed a range of issues including polio eradication and ongoing efforts to ensure that investments made to eradicate polio contribute to future health goals. They also discussed how Federal Republic of Germany and WHO can work together to support the Republic of Congo in its health development efforts.

Both parties explored the possibility of working together on primary health care along with collaboration in addressing health challenges faced in the African Region. It will be recalled that during this year’s World Health Assembly in Geneva, Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany underscored her country’s commitment to fight antimicrobial resistance, neglected tropical diseases and strengthen outbreak/epidemic preparedness and health security. She also emphasized the need for all countries to have strong health systems and highlighted the key role of health in sustainable development.

The Regional Director and the German Ambassador reaffirmed their commitment to improve the health of people in the Region.

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For more information, please contact:

C. Boakye-Agyemang, +4724139420 

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it