More international support needed to curb measles outbreak

Grant Boone
January 10, 2020

According to the WHO, $27.6 million has already been assembled-but a further $40 million is needed to fund a six-month program to increase vaccination coverage and bolster other measures meant to curb the outbreak, including health education and community engagement.

"25% of the measles cases recorded concern children over five, who are the most vulnerable", provides the WHO.

Every one of the country's 26 provinces has reported cases of measles since the outbreak was declared in June previous year.

"We are doing everything we can to control this epidemic. We urge our donor partners to urgently step up their assistance", said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. However, to be really successful, we need to make sure that no child is exposed to the unnecessary risk of death from an illness that is easily prevented by a vaccine.

As in the case of Ebola, WHO said it was hard to access vulnerable communities due to the outbreaks of other diseases and the security situation in some regions.

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Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said inadequate funding remains a huge impediment to successfully curbing the outbreak.

The WHO says an extra $40m (£30m) is required to extend the vaccination to children between six and 14 years and strengthen outbreak response.

It has now called for more funds to save lives during the world's worst outbreak of the infectious disease. Health workers in Congo struggle to access remote parts of the vast country, and vaccination rates remain low in areas where armed groups operate.

"We recognise the Government's engagement in the efforts to end the outbreak and we are grateful for the generosity of our donors", officer in charge of World Health Organization office in the DRC Amedee Prosper Djiguimde said in the statement. "Thousands of Congolese families need our help to lift the burden of this prolonged epidemic from their backs".

Declared in August 2018, this tenth Ebola epidemic on Congolese soil impacts the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, two areas suffering from violence because of the presence of dozens of native and overseas armed teams. We can not do this without adequate finance, "said Djiguimdé in the press release".

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