September 6, 2001
Teams from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) working in collaboration with local health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo recently completed measles vaccinations for approximately 21,000 children ages six months to five years in northern Katanga Province.
The affected area had seen an alarming rise in the number of cases of measles, an extremely contagious, potentially fatal disease. Since January 1, area health centers had registered 173 cases of measles, 82 recorded the week of July 9 alone. MSF enacted a short-term project—vaccinations began July 23 and were completed by August 5—to ensure that it would be finished before the rainy season, which will render many villages in the region inaccessible for months.
MSF recently began working in the Kabalo area of northern Katanga Province, an area close to the frontline that hosts thousands of people displaced by the country's ongoing war. Of the 78,000 people living in the area , nearly 50 percent are from neighboring provinces, displaced by the war. There are no functioning health centers. The disintegration of the health system and the ongoing conflict have contributed to outbreaks of disease among the population.
In June, MSF undertook an emergency intervention to stem a severe cholera epidemic. During the epidemic, which lasted 58 days, 329 cases of cholera and 59 deaths were recorded. Since June 26, no more cases have been registered.
MSF has been active in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1985.
© 2013 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)