NewsDesk @bactiman63

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports concerning measles in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC):

Public domain image (cropped)/Calliopejen

In the first four months of 2023, the country has recorded 53 per cent of the total number of measles cases registered last year, according to health authorities.

As of 16 April, the country had registered at least 78,396 new cases and 921 deaths, compared to 148,638 cases and 1,875 deaths recorded in 2022. 23 out of the 26 provinces are at epidemic stage. The hardest hit provinces are South and North Kivu (19,702 and 19,385 cases, respectively).

Weak health and sanitation infrastructures, acute malnutrition and low vaccination coverage, particularly in areas with limited access due to insecurity, continue to trigger such epidemics, severely impacting the life expectancy of children under five.

Between 2018 and 2020, DRC experienced one of the world’s worst measles outbreaks, during which more than 460,000 children (three-quarters of whom were under five) contracted the disease, and nearly 8,000 died.

A vaccination campaign is scheduled to take place in May in North Kivu, South Kivu, Mongala, Kinshasa, and Tshopo provinces to help curb the spread of the epidemic.