The southern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) province of Katanga is seeing its share of problems including instability, violence and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people. However, these are not the regions only problems–many are infectious diseases.

DRC map
Democratic Republic of the Congo/CIA

First there is cholera. Radio Okapi reports (computer translated) from Jan. 1 to Dec. 7 of this year, there has been 8,700 cholera cases and 249 cholera-related fatalities.

Although the numbers seen in 2014 seem high, and they are, the good news is it is a decrease compared to the same period in 2013.  Between January 1 and December 10, 2013, The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports the number of cases recorded in the same province 12,600 cholera cases including 302 deaths.

From January to June, over USD 2.6 million were mobilized in the fight against cholera in Katanga via the Pooled Fund of the DRC, UNICEF and other donors. The money went to the following cholera prevention activities to include setting up water chlorination facilities, restoring water points, disinfecting homes, medical care of patients in treatment facilities, strengthening the resilience of people vulnerable to water-borne diseases, building family toilets and organizing awareness sessions on good hygiene and sanitation practices.

The news about measles in the province is not nearly as positive. In addition to cholera, Katanga also sees an average of 1,230 measles cases monthly, according to OCHA. From Jan 1 to the beginning of October over 11,000 cases of measles, including 90 deaths, have been registered. This figure is double the number of cases registered for the same period in 2013.

The several conflict area of the province reveals that many children have not yet been reached by vaccination programs or by other humanitarian interventions due to perpetual violence.

One million malaria cases have been reported in Katanga province during the first eight months of 2014. This includes almost 2,000 deaths. 50,000 mosquito were distributed in the small town of Kilwa this year.  The next mosquito nets
distribution campaign is planned for 2015.

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