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Fixation over Covid-19 sidelines other health crisis, says WHO

As the world is currently fixated over the Coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the current focus on COVID-19 risks pushing aside other health crises in the minds of the public.

As the world is currently fixated over the Coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the current focus on COVID-19 risks pushing aside other health crises in the minds of the public.

Published May 27, 2020

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DURBAN - As the world is currently fixated over the Coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the current focus on Covid-19 risks pushing aside other health crises in the minds of the public.

When the world eventually moves past the Covid-19 crisis, some experts predict the virus will not simply go away – rather, they say it could become endemic with seasonal outbreaks.

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UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore said: “We cannot let our fight against one disease come at the expense of long-term progress in our fight against other diseases. We have effective vaccines against measles, polio and cholera. While circumstances may require us to temporarily pause some immunization efforts, these immunizations must restart as soon as possible, or we risk exchanging one deadly outbreak for another.”

The world is currently experiencing the seventh cholera pandemic, which has now persisted for over 50 years, with recurrent outbreaks. Last year, a WHO study surveying 34 countries noted a 60 percent decline in cholera between 2017 and 2018. But with many cases not being reported, the real numbers globally could be significantly higher.

“The highest number of cases occurred in the Asia region, which includes the Middle East and a large outbreak in Yemen in 2018, with close to 375,000 people falling ill. But the most deaths – over 5,000 – occurred in sub-Saharan Africa,” said the organization.

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