Who considers declaring monkeypox a global health emergency

Thursday, June 23, 2022
author picture Liam Lambert
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World Health Organization Considers Declaring Monkeypox a Global Emergency

The World Health Organization is considering declaring monkeypox a global emergency. The committee is meeting Thursday‚ but any delay in action could perpetuate the unequal distribution of resources between the poor and the rich. A global emergency declaration would be a situation in which the disease could quickly spread across borders‚ making it an extraordinary event. This would grant monkeypox the same status as the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing effort to eradicate polio.

LONDON -- The World Health Organization's emergency committee meets Thursday to determine if the growing epidemic of monkeypox should be declared a worldwide emergency. However‚ experts warn that WHO's inaction after the virus has spread to the West may perpetuate the horrific inequalities between the rich and the poor during the coronavirus outbreak. Monkeypox would be declared a worldwide emergency by the U.N. Health Agency. This means that it is considered an exceptional event‚ and the risk of the disease spreading to more countries. This would give monkeypox the distinction of the COVID-19 pandemic‚ and the ongoing efforts to eliminate polio. Scientists are skeptical that such a declaration will help curb the epidemic. However‚ the countries with the highest number of cases have already begun to take steps to stop it. The WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus outlined the latest developments in last week's WHO Annual Meeting. Monkeypox More than 40 countries have been identified as having an unusual or concerning epidemic‚ most notably in Europe. People have been suffering from Monkeypox for many decades in west and central Africa. One version can kill up to 10% people. No deaths have yet been reported in the outbreak beyond Africa. Oyewale Tomori from Nigeria‚ who is a WHO advisory group member‚ stated that WHO could have called their emergency committee years earlier when monkeypox reemerged. He said that it was a little strange that WHO called only their experts when the disease appeared in white countries. Monkeypox has not been responsible for large-scale outbreaks in Europe beyond Africa‚ according to WHO. Researchers have not found major genetic mutations in the virus‚ and WHO's top adviser said that the sudden increase in cases in Europe last month was probably due to the WHO. Sexual activity Two raves were held in Spain and Belgium for gay and bisexual men. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published confirmed more than 3300 monkeypox cases have been reported in 42 countries‚ where it has not previously been seen. Over 80% cases were found in Europe. Meanwhile‚ africa this year has seen over 1‚400 cases‚ with 62 deaths. David Fidler is a Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow in global healthcare. He said that WHO's increased attention to monkeypox as it spreads beyond Africa may inadvertently increase the gap between poor and rich countries‚ which was evident during COVID-19. Fidler stated that there may have been legitimate reasons WHO did not raise the alarm when monkeypox was spreading to wealthy countries. However‚ to those in need‚ it seems like there is a double standard. Fidler said that the international community is still trying to protect the poor from the coronavirus. He also stated that the question of whether Africans want monkeypox vaccines was not being answered due to competing priorities such as HIV and malaria. Fidler stated that unless African governments ask specifically for vaccines it may seem a little patronizing to send them‚ but it is in the West’s best interest to prevent monkeypox being exported. WHO also suggested the creation of a vaccine-sharing mechanism to help the affected countries‚ doses could be sent to countries such as Britain. Britain has the largest monkeypox epidemic outside of Africa. Recently widened its use of vaccines. The vast majority of European cases have occurred in gay men or bisexual men. However‚ scientists have warned anyone who comes into contact with infected persons or their clothes or bedding that they are at risk. Monkeypox can cause fever and body aches‚ as well as a rash. Most people recover in a matter of weeks. It's not clear what effect monkeypox could have‚ even if WHO declares it a worldwide emergency. WHO declared COVID-19 an international emergency in January 2020. However‚ few countries noticed until March when WHO declared COVID-19 an international emergency. This was weeks after other authorities had done so. WHO later came under fire for multiple mistakes made during the pandemic. Experts suggested that this might have prompted a faster monkeypox response. Amanda Glassman (executive vice president‚ Center for Global Development) stated that monkeypox is not an emergency after COVID. Although this may not be a COVID-like crisis‚ it still represents a serious public health problem that must be dealt with. Salim Abdool Karaim is an epidemiologist at the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. He said WHO and other organizations should do more to prevent monkeypox in Africa. However‚ he wasn't sure that declaring a global emergency would be helpful. It is a mistaken belief that Africa is a poor and helpless continent. However‚ Abdool Karim said‚ "We do have the ability to manage epidemics." His comments included the following: surveillance‚ education and isolating of patients. He said that they might need to develop vaccines for monkeypox in Europe‚ but we are able to manage it here with simple steps.