In 2022, the virus mpox was declared a public health emergency of international concern. From October 2022 to February 2023, a research team from the UK and Nigeria studied the recent story of mpox in Nigeria, and what it could mean for responses in other countries and across national borders. The wider lessons are documented in a comic illustrated by Tim Zocco, produced in collaboration with the research team.
You can download the comic as a PDF or view the images on this page – scroll down to view them and find out more.
Mpox in Nigeria and around the world: a diverse picture
In Nigeria, many people rely on private or informal providers for healthcare. There are challenges to surveillance, detection and contact tracing, making it hard to know in detail who is getting the disease and how it is spreading. Networks of community informants, set up by the government, help to gather information, but these are not widespread enough.
Nigeria has invested in a strong Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and research and testing facilities. But while the health sector is fragmented, consistent surveillance and detection will remain difficult. Meanwhile, access to resources like vaccines and other important resources is still unequal around the world. There are challenges for global institutions in taking account of the differences across nations and regions.
The experience of mpox suggests the need to recognise that outbreaks can take very different forms in different places, and emerging or shifting outbreaks should be addressed sooner rather than later.
Read the comic
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Related: Photo story – Views of mpox in Nigeria
View a photo story about the research, which explores how mpox is felt and understood by different people – including those with symptoms, the wider community and healthcare workers.
About the project
The research project ‘The multi-country monkeypox outbreak: livelihoods, vulnerability and preparedness’ was carried out by an interdisciplinary team including social science and public health expertise from University of Ibadan and the Institute of Development Studies. The project is funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).