29 December 2015
A measles epidemic has been raging since the beginning of the year (2015) in the former province of Katanga in the southeast of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). According to the Ministry of Public Health, as of 20 November 2015 a total of39,619 cases including 474 deaths have been officially reported in Katanga since early 2015. More than 77 percent of children affected were aged one to five years, and 88 percent of the children who died were from this age-group.
Katanga is almost the size of Spain and has more than ten million inhabitants. Twenty-four of its 68 health zones have been affected by the epidemic, according to the Katanga Provincial Health Inspection, based in the provincial capital Lubumbashi.
In the most remote and economically depressed parts of this mineral-rich province, healthcare is out of reach for many. Most people have lost confidence in the health system, which suffers from a chronic shortage of medicines and a lack of trained medical staff. Treatment costs are so high as to prevent the mostly poor population from seeking care.
Read more on “DRC: Katanga Measles Crisis Update – December 2015” on Medecins Sans Frontieres.
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