Health Desk- 7 March, 2020: As the world grapples with the spread of novel coronavirus, in remote western DR Congo, officials are fighting a deadly outbreak of measles, reports AFP.
More than 6,000 people have died from measles in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a year, the world’s worst outbreak and triple the toll of the country’s Ebola epidemic. It is also nearly double the 3,404 people who have died from the coronavirus so far.
Last year, more than 18 million children under the age of five were vaccinated for measles across DR Congo and around 310,000 suspected cases were reported.
The UN agency World Health Organisation had said more emergency funds were needed from donors for a six-month immunisation plan for children to help curb the epidemic.
A second stage of vaccinations just started this week. Vaccines are loaded onto motorbikes in the villages around Temba, a six-hour drive along dirt roads from the western community of Seke-Banza.
Around 73,000 children from six months to 15 years old will be vaccinated in the Kongo Central province as part of the second phase.
The DRC recorded more than 335,413 suspected cases and 6,362 deaths from January 1, 2019 to February 20, 2020, according to WHO statistics.
Measles has killed more than the Ebola epidemic declared on August 1, 2018 in the east of the country, which has caused 2,264 deaths.