DAKAR, Senegal (CMC) – The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday urged countries, including those in the Caribbean, to work more together to stop the rapid spread of the Monkeypox epidemic, “regardless of the nationality, skin color or religion of the affected population”. ”.
WHO Assistant Director General for Emergencies Ibrahima Soce Fall said the organization had been working on monkeypox in Africa for several years but “no one was interested”.
Once called a “neglected tropical disease”, he said the WHO worked on Monkeypox with very few resources, but the world only reacted when countries in the North started to be affected by the disease.
“It was the same with the Zika virus and we need to stop this discrimination,” Dr Fall said.
On July 23, the WHO declared the spread of the virus a public health emergency of international concern – the organization’s highest alert level. In this way, the WHO aims to strengthen coordination, cooperation of nations and global solidarity.
“The world must step up to protect these populations, regardless of their nationality, skin color or religion,” Dr Fall said.
“I think it’s extremely important and now that more than 70 countries are affected around the world, everyone is getting active,” he added.
Until this year, the virus responsible for Monkeypox has rarely spread outside of Africa, where it is endemic.
But reports of a handful of cases in Britain in early May signaled the outbreak had moved to Europe. The virus has been reported in the Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados and Bermuda as well as Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
“It is important, and we have already done so, to accelerate the research and development program on Monkeypox so that the most affected African countries can have the necessary resources to prevent and control Monkeypox,” said Dr Fall.
Although a vaccine to prevent Monkeypox was approved in 2019, its availability remains limited at this time.
“I think it is time for the world to invest so that these populations who live in rural areas and in forest areas can be protected”. If we only treat what is happening in Europe and America, we will only treat the symptoms of Monkeypox, but not the real disease. It is important that the world comes together against this type of disease,” said Dr Fall.