Measles causes 905 deaths this year in DRC

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs recently reported that there have been 905 measles deaths in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the beginning of the year.

OCHA reported that since January, 34,192 cases of the disease have been reported, primarily in Equateur province in the northwest of the country, according to Xinhua.

The success of an August vaccination drive in Kasai Occidental, Katanga, Maniema and North Kivu provinces has led the government to try a similar exercise in Equateur. The campaigns received major technical assistance from the World Health Organization, The United Nations Children's Fund and Medecins Sans Frontiere.

Moise-Désiré Yapi, the head of the sub-office of the World Health Organization for the region, said that more than 630 immunization teams have been sent to the field. He expects the campaign to last five days.

"In case there would be difficulties, it can be extended to one week, even 10 days," Dr. Yapi said, reports.

Ongoing conflict in the Congo has made it difficult to reach those in need of medical assistance, prompting Medecins Sans Frontiere to bolster its existing programs in the country.

"We're witnessing ongoing mass population movements across the provinces of North and South Kivu, with entire families fleeing multiple conflicts," MSF head of mission Andrew Mews said. "The proliferation of violence in the region is forcing huge numbers of people to leave their homes in search of safety."