The rise in vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and polio in African countries has been attributed to the slow uptake of childhood vaccines at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A report by the Tony Blair Institute shows that the Covid-19 put some health systems under immense pressure and stretched others beyond their capacity.
For instance, when lockdowns were imposed to slow the spread of the virus, parents and guardians were not able to take their children to hospitals for their routine vaccination schedules.
According to the World Health Organization, almost 17,500 cases of measles were recorded in Africa between January and March this year – marking a 400% increase compared with the same period in 2021.
The cases were from 20 African countries.
In February, Malawi reported a case of wild polio in a three-year-old girl – the first of its kind in Africa for more than five years.
Mozambique also reported a case in May. Wild polio is endemic in only Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The continent has also witnessed outbreaks of anthrax, cholera, yellow fever, chikungunya, meningitis, and other infectious diseases which account for more than 80% of reported health events.
The authors of the report want governments to prioritize public-health spending and recruiting more health workers so as to deal with increasing outbreaks.