The year 2022 in review

The year 2022 in review

The year 2022 began on the back of a new COVID-19 wave driven by the more infectious Omicron variant. The continent was grappling with its fourth pandemic wave amid the world’s lowest vaccination rates. World Health Organization, the COVAX Facility and partner organizations ardently pushed for vaccine equity and ramped up supply and support to countries to increase vaccine uptake.

A vaccination campaign aiming to reach 100 million people in 10 priority countries helped increase the population’s protection against the virus. With a significant decline in COVID-19 cases as the year progressed, countries eased key pandemic control measures as economies reopened and efforts intensified to resume normalcy.

Beyond COVID-19, the region also faced major health emergencies including wild polio outbreak in southern Africa, Ebola and Marburg outbreaks as well as cases of mpox. But significant milestones were also crossed: Togo eliminated trachoma as a public health problem; healthy life expectancy rose by almost a decade; new efforts to strengthen emergency response were launched; and by the end of the year a billion COVID-19 vaccine doses had been delivered to the continent. Below is a highlight of the key moments in the region’s health landscape. 

20 January 2022

Cases drop for first time as Africa’s fourth COVID-19 wave ebbs

As the year begins, weekly COVID-19 cases drop significantly and deaths dip for the first time since the peak of the fourth pandemic wave.

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17 February 2022

Malawi declares polio outbreak

A case of wild poliovirus type 1 is detected after Africa goes for more than five years without any known infection, leading to ramped-up disease surveillance, vaccination and public awareness campaigns.

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1 March 2022

Obesity rising in Africa, WHO analysis finds

New WHO analysis finds that obesity is projected to rise among children and teenagers in 10 high-burden African countries if no robust measures are taken.

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18 May 2022

Mozambique confirms wild poliovirus case

A second (after the one in Malawi) imported case of wild poliovirus is detected in Mozambique. National health authorities scale up response to the virus, including preparations for vaccination campaigns.

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2 June 2022

WHO, partners seek to reboot Africa’s health emergency response

Despite great progress in reducing response rates, at least 100 health emergencies annually require urgent reforms to fill gaps across countries. 

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30 June 2022

Bolstering monkeypox laboratory testing in Africa

World Health Organization steps up support to African countries to bolster surveillance and laboratory diagnosis to detect cases and deter a silent spread of the virus.

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22 August 2022

Africa’s top health forum opens to tackle major challenges

The Seventy-second WHO Regional Committee for Africa opens in Lomé, Togo, the first to be held in-person since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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20 September 2022

Uganda declares Ebola Virus Disease outbreak 

The health authorities declare an outbreak after a case of Sudan ebolavirus is detected in the central Mubende district, triggering response to curb the disease.

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6 October 2022

Suicide prevention awareness campaign launched

WHO launches campaign to spread awareness and spur action for suicide prevention in the region, which has the world’s highest rate of death by suicide.

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17 November 2022

WHO steps up support to Uganda’s evolving Ebola outbreak

World Health Organization boosts efforts to support the government-led response against the outbreak as the first doses of candidate vaccines against the Sudan ebolavirus are expected in the country.

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1 December 2022

Africa’s advances in maternal, infant mortality face setbacks

Progress made during the past decade against maternal and infant mortality in the African region is projected to slow down, a new analysis from the Atlas of African Health Statistics 2022 finds.

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14 December 2022

One billion COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered to Africa

Africa receives 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses since deliveries began in early 2021. While the continent has made significant efforts to vaccinate its population, less than 30% of the population is currently fully vaccinated against the virus.

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