An unprecedented combination of epidemics, according to global Vaccine Alliance Gavi, is behind the UN and partners launching a major new immunisation campaign against cholera targeting more than 800,000 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The campaign began on Monday in North Kivu in the restive east of the country, where armed groups hold sway over large areas, and the DRC’s worst-ever Ebola epidemic is still raging, having claimed well over 1,000 lives so far, UN News reported on Monday.
The DRC’s health ministry implemented the campaign, which Gavi is funding, with support from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other partners.
The campaign plans to target a total of 835,183 people in Binza, Goma, Kayina, Karisimbi, Kibirizi, Kirotshe and Rutshuru by Saturday’s deadline. Those vaccinated are being given an initial dose which will be followed by a secondary dose if everything goes to plan.
More than 10,000 cases of cholera have been reported in the DRC since the beginning of the year, leading to more than 240 deaths. Over 80,000 suspected cases of measles have led to over 1,400 deaths while a case of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 was reported in Kasai province, earlier this month.
These are in addition to the ongoing battle against Ebola which broke out last August claiming 1,000 lives.
But the fight against the epidemics is being severely hampered by aid workers battling to reach those affected due to approximately 119 attacks on health centres and workers by armed groups since January and the ongoing insecurity in the area.
– African News Agency