Rift Valley fever in the Horn of Africa: challenges and opportunities

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Nicole Butcher *
Melissa Tan
Mohamud Sheikh
(*) Corresponding Author:
Nicole Butcher | butcher.nicole@gmail.com


The Rift Valley fever (RVF) epidemic in the Horn of Africa region in 2007 resulted in significant mortality on a background of protracted political instability, famine, food insecurity and internal population displacement. Com - municable diseases such as RVF are difficult to contain in such a context with protracted civil war, statelessness, poor governance and constant population movement. A literature review was conducted to assess i) contributing factors to the latest RVF crisis and ii) emergency response. Within the review, the challenges and opportunities for future management were also identified. A range of geopolitical, socioeconomic and environmental barriers impeded the public health response, notably the lack of regional epidemic management guidelines. The Horn of Africa nations did not have localized response plans despite the presence and assistance of multinational organizations with epidemic containment strategies. Traversing borders and boundaries, RVF could wreak devastating outcomes once more unless stringent local and regional public health collaborations are established. It is therefore necessary to empower livestock owners and instate them in national and regional early detection, as part of a strengthened detection and response mechanism.

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