DRC hit by worst cholera epidemic in two decades


Authorities report that 32 cholera-related deaths were recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo between November 2017  and January 22, adding that 826 new cases were reported during that period.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said the crisis had now reached the country’s capital Kinshasa, sparking fears that the epidemic will spread faster than ever before. Being the megalopolis that it is, Kinshasa is particularly vulnerable during this ghastly period.

As of 2017, the cholera epidemic had affected 55 000 people, across 24 of that country’s 26 provinces. Experts say 1190 of those patients have died. Among the worst affected provinces are Kongo Central, Kwilu, Kasai, Haut Lomami, Maniema, Tanganyika, Sud-Kivu, Nord-Kivu, Ituri and Bas-Uélé.

“It (Kinshasa) is vulnerable to cholera because of a lack of drinking water, a lack of sanitation, and a lack of health infrastructure that is properly adapted to provide treatment in cholera-affected areas,” said the MSF’s Jean Liyolongo on Tuesday.

“To contain the epidemic, teams from MSF’s Congo Emergency Pool are bolstering the two Cholera Treatment Units (CTUs) in Camp Luka and Pakadjuma, so ensuring 24/7 patient care in the most affected health zones (Binza Méteo, Kitambo and Limete).

“From the beginning of activities (16th January 2018), MSF has treated 157 patients, whom almost 40 percent in severe dehydration, 133 have been already discharged and 1 person died,” added Liyolongo.

“Faced with the spread of this epidemic, as of last week we have stepped up our intervention by treating patients in the treatments units, and by putting in place 10 rehydration points, epidemiological surveillance activities and education, and an ambulance service,” explained Liyolongo.

“Cholera is affecting the parts of Kinshasa that are densely populated, so it’s crucial to act quickly to prevent the spread of this epidemic. By providing quick and free treatment for patients, alongside support to healthcare providers, we can ensure proper care for those who are ill.”