14 February 2019

Congo-Kinshasa: Hundred Children Die Measles Outbreak

Photo: Julien Harneis/Flickr
Measles vaccination in Kibati camp, DRC.

More than a hundred children in Democratic Republic of Congo have died of measles since the start of the year, an outbreak that has added to deadly epidemics of cholera and Ebola, the UN said on Wednesday.

Health officials in the southeast provinces of Lualaba and Lomami recorded 7,175 cases of measles in January, "at least 137 of which were fatal," the UN's Monusco peacekeeping mission said.

More than 80 percent of the fatalities were children aged under five, it said. Experts have blamed lack of vaccination, poor medical facilities and malnutrition among the young.

Monusco added that 1,936 cases of cholera had been recorded since the start of the year in Katanga, Lomami and Tanganyika. Lack of clean drinking water, sanitation and medical care were hampering the fight against the disease, it said.

"We don't speak about these two epidemics very much" yet they are "also very worrying and deadly," said the report. Last weekend, the government said more than 500 people had died from Ebola since last August in North Kivu and Ituri, in the troubled east of the country.

Poor security in the region, where armed rebels have terrorised the population for years, has complicated efforts to roll back the outbreak.

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