Monkeypox will certainly be deemed a worldwide health emergency by WHO: Report

Scientists and public health professionals have been putting additional pressure on the WHO and national governments to do more to combat monkeypox in recent weeks.

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Even if the World Health Organization (WHO) expert committee is divided on the choice, according to sources, the organisation may declare monkeypox a global health emergency.

The committee convened on Thursday to discuss the matter. The final decision-maker for the WHO, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has historically followed the committee’s advice.

He is seriously considering raising the agency’s highest level of alert for monkeypox, despite the fact that there isn’t a consensus, since he is worried about how urgent the issue is.

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To make his choice public, Tedros will hold a virtual press conference on Saturday at 1300 GMT.

The coronavirus pandemic and ongoing attempts to eradicate polio are the two issues now classified as “public health emergencies of worldwide concern.”

Need for WHO call

The WHO and national governments have come under increasing pressure in recent weeks to do more to combat monkeypox from scientists and public health professionals.

More than 14,000 cases have now been reported from 71 WHO member states, along with five fatalities.

There were just roughly 3,000 cases when the committee initially met at the end of June.

The WHO notice raises awareness and may also help mobilise financial and international initiatives to cooperate on the sharing of vaccinations and treatments.

Monkeypox has already been successfully treated and prevented, but these medications and vaccines are in short supply. Since the outbreak started in early May, the WHO has also been giving guidance and updates.

Call for vaccination

Despite the fact that monkeypox is often a minor disease, several experts have expressed worry that calling it a global emergency could unintentionally intensify the rush for medicines.

The world’s limited vaccine supplies, according to Dr. Dimie Ogoina, a professor of medicine at Nigeria’s Niger Delta University, could lead to a recurrence of the issues that arose during the coronavirus pandemic when wealthy countries hoarded the majority of the doses and left poorer nations without vaccines.

“It does not make sense to just control the outbreak in Europe and America because you will then still have the (animal) source of the outbreak in Africa,” said Ogoina, who sits on WHO’s Monkeypox emergency committee, earlier this week.