The World Health Organization (WHO) declares the rapidly spreading monkeypox outbreak as a “public health emergency of international concern”, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Saturday, July 23rd.
The term “public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC)” is designated to potentially prompt a coordinated international response after the disease has significantly caused a public health risk to other countries through the international spread.
The WHO’s director-general stated: “We have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little, and which meets the criteria for a public health emergency.”
The declaration can lead member countries to invest resources in controlling an outbreak and drawing responses as well as encouraging collaboration on sharing vaccines and treatments between nations for containing the outbreak.
“Although I am declaring a public health emergency of international concern, for the moment this is an outbreak that is concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners. Therefore, it is necessary for all countries to provide effective services and information that protect both health, human rights, and the affected community,” he added.
Monkeypox has been a concern for years in some African countries, but the virus has spread worldwide in recent weeks. So far in 2022, there have been more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox reported in more than 75 countries and five deaths in Africa.
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