News Scan for Oct 13, 2021

Antimicrobial resistance cost calculator
;
Ebola vaccination in the DRC

New online tool aims to help countries calculate cost of fighting AMR

The World Health Organization (WHO) today released a new tool to help countries calculate the costs of implementing multisectoral national action plans (NAPs) for antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The modular online tool enables countries to prioritize activities included in their NAPs, which in many cases exist only on paper, and then calculates what those activities may cost, based on key parameters that are relevant to those countries. Users can also input existing national funds that will be used to cover the costs, which helps identify funding gaps and additional resources that might be needed to pay for AMR activities.

Funding for activities to address AMR, or lack thereof, remains a key issue for many countries. As of July 2021, 145 countries have developed AMR NAPs and an additional 41 are in the process of developing one. But according to a recent survey by the WHO, the World Organization for Animal Health, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, only 20% of these plans are fully funded and 40% have a budgeted operational plan.

"Leaders making funding decisions need to understand how much the activities included in the NAP will cost, how many activities are already being funded and how the budget can be increased," the WHO states in the user guide for the cost and budgeting tool. "A clear approach to costing and budgeting AMR NAPs is therefore a critical first step in ensuring that efforts are practical and can be implemented sustainably."
Oct 13 WHO AMR costing and budgeting tool and user guide

 

Ebola vaccine campaign launches in DRC outbreak area

Health officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today launched an Ebola vaccination campaign in a part of North Kivu province where a confirmed case, plus three related suspected deaths, were recently reported.

In a statement, the WHO regional office for Africa said about 1,000 doses of VSV-EBOV—Merck's Ebola vaccine—and medical supplies were sent from Kinshasa to Goma, the capital of North Kivu province. About 200 of the doses were sent to the outbreak area near Beni, where a ring vaccination campaign is targeting contacts, contacts of contacts, and first responders.

The confirmed case involves a 2-year-old boy who died on Oct 6 at a local health facility. The suspected cases are three of his neighbors who are members of the same family. The three were sick in the latter part of September, and all died after experiencing symptoms similar to Ebola.

So far, 170 contacts have been identified and are being monitored.

The WHO said sporadic cases can arise after major outbreaks. The area around North Kivu province experienced a major outbreak from 2018 to 2020, and earlier this year a flare-up occurred near the city of Butembo in North Kivu. In survivors, the virus can persist in immune-protected parts of the body, and the virus is also present in the DRC's animal populations.

The WHO said genetic sequencing is under way to determine if the new case is linked to the earlier outbreaks, with results expected this week.
Oct 13 WHO African regional office statement
Oct 11 CIDRAP News story

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