Beyond Covid: A health roundup of 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic and the global mpox outbreak lasted another year (formerly monkeypox). The devastation and death brought on by conflict have affected the people of Ethiopia and Ukraine. Multiple nations have seen cholera outbreaks, Uganda suffered from the Ebola virus, and the broader Horn of Africa and the Sahel have seen a sharp rise in starvation and sickness due to drought and flooding. The impact of Pakistan's severe floods on health care is immense.

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic and the global pox outbreak lasted another year (formerly monkeypox). The devastation and death brought on by conflict have affected the people of Ethiopia and Ukraine. Multiple nations have seen cholera outbreaks, Uganda suffered from the Ebola virus, and the broader Horn of Africa and the Sahel have seen a sharp rise in starvation and sickness due to drought and flooding. The impact of Pakistan’s severe floods on health care is immense.

The Covid situation

We were in the early phases of the Omicron wave a year ago, with cases and deaths rising quickly.

However, the number of weekly reported COVID-19 fatalities has decreased by approximately 90% from the peak at the end of January.

The ACT-Accelerator- a global effort to speed up the development, manufacture, and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments, and vaccinations- helped distribute almost 2 billion vaccine doses and 200 million tests in the second part of 2022, the first oral antivirals began to enter various nations and oxygen access improved in about 100 of them.

While the Covid situation has improved, it is still too early to declare the pandemic over, especially in the face of the rising scare in China. 

Monkeypox 

Monkeypox, also known as pox, was deemed a public health emergency of worldwide concern by WHO in July. More than 83 000 cases have been recorded this year from 110 countries, with most instances historically occurring in central and west Africa. Thankfully, with just 66 deaths, the mortality rate has remained low.

The number of weekly reported cases of pox has decreased by more than 90% since its peak, similar to COVID-19. If the trend continues, we will be able to proclaim this emergency to be over by the end of the following year.

Ebola

Uganda announced a new Ebola epidemic in September that was brought on by the Sudan ebolavirus species, which had not been seen there for ten years.

The Ugandan government’s efforts to track down cases, treat the sick and engage communities to help control the outbreak are beginning to bear fruit, as the outbreak’s projected end date has now started to approach.

Malaria Vaccine

Through a trial program run by WHO, the world’s first malaria vaccine, RTS, S, is still being distributed in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi. In the three nations, the malaria vaccine protects more than 1.2 million kids. At least 27 nations have expressed interest in implementing the malaria vaccine in regions with moderate to high malaria transmission. A wider distribution of the vaccine is anticipated as early as late 2023.

Additionally, according to recent statistics made public by the WHO in December, malaria incidence and fatalities were constant in 2021 as opposed to a significant spike in 2020.

The way forward

The 75th anniversary of WHO will be recognized in 2023.

This historic event will offer a chance to consider the public health achievements of the last 75 years that have allowed people to live longer, better lives.

But it will also serve as a reminder of the ongoing dedication and effort that will be necessary to ensure that not only does everyone have access to health services, regardless of where they live, but also of the collaboration that is required, locally, nationally, and internationally, to confront the many and complex challenges to our health that we face today. 

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