SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2018

Measles epidemic claims 1,145 lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo

According to the United Nation's Humanitarian Affairs mission in Kinshasa, a measles epidemic has killed 1,145 children in the Democratic Republic of Congo since January.
The epidemic, which has affected 115,600 children in the country between January and June, has prompted the vaccination of 3.1 million children across five provinces, AFP reports.
The campaign began on May 10 after the NGO Doctors without Borders cited a "lack of reactivity" of organizations like the World Health Organization to what it termed an "uncontrollable" epidemic. According to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the vaccination is continuing in two provinces.
In 2010, 5,407 cases of measles were reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo, leading to 82 deaths, which was up from 899 cases and 26 deaths the year before.
Measles is an extremely contagious disease and can cause severe diarrhea, pneumonia and, in some cases, blindness and death. Despite a safe vaccine being available, measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children globally.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is also battling cholera and polio epidemics that have claimed the lives of 250 people since March. The country has one of the world's highest child mortality rates – 148 out of every 1,000 live births.
The WHO responded to the criticism of OCHA by calling for a dialogue.
"If you have criticism, the best thing is to open dialogue to see what is not going well," Ayigan Kossi, the WHO's Kinshasa director, said, according to AFP.