WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

MSF responds to cholera outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo

Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières recently responded to an emergency cholera outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, vaccinating 690 children and adults in South Kivu, Bukavu.

The Provincial General Hospital of South Kivu in Bukavu alerted the MSF that on December 1, 2013, 30 people were admitted to the Cholera Treatment Center, one of whom had already died. When the MSF arrived on the scene, four more persons had already died.

An MSF emergency response team led an immunization campaign, vaccinating nearly 700 people, including 156 children under the age of five. The team also led a prevention campaign to educate the public about healthy practices that would reduce the spread of cholera, left a sufficient amount of supplies to contain the outbreak and enhanced patient diagnosis and treatment.

"South Kivu is a cholera-endemic area," MSF emergency team in DRC coordinator Juan Matias said. "But in Bukavu, a city of one million inhabitants on the banks of Lake Kivu, there are also many factors favoring the spread of the disease. A large part of the population doesn't have access to good quality water due to the poor infrastructure; the rainy season, which is when the disease spreads, lasts for nine months; and the hygiene habits of the population are not adequate. That's why it's very important to work with the community to contain and prevent new outbreaks of cholera."

This marked the sixth MSF emergency health intervention in South Kivu in 2013 and the third cholera outbreak in the DRC in 2013.