WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

Officials in Congo report 474 deaths from measles

Congo's Ministry of Public Health recently released an update about the measles epidemic that has been taking place since the start of 2015.

The epidemic is currently contained within the former province of Katanga, which is in the southeast area of the country. The report states that there have been 39,619 measles cases confirmed through Nov. 20, with 474 of these patients dying. Over 77 percent of the area’s children between the ages of 1 and 5 have been affected because of the epidemic. Another 88 percent of Katanga’s children between the ages of 1 and 5 have died from measles.

Over 10 million people live in the province, which is approximately the size of Spain. It has a total of 68 health zones, 24 of which are involved in the epidemic. Health care workers are unable to reach a large portion of the population that lives in remote, economically struggling areas.

Unfortunately, most of the citizens do not have faith in their health care system because it is chronically low in staff and medicines. In addition, the costs of treatments are so expensive that most of the population cannot afford them. These challenges make it more difficult for health care officials to contain and eliminate the epidemic.

Organizations in this story

Medecins Sans Frontieres / Doctors Without Borders 333 7th Ave New York, NY 10001

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