Mass measles vaccination campaign begins in Ebola-hit DR Congo province

UNICEF/Madjiangar Interethnic violence has ravaged the Ituri Province in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since December last year, generating significant population movements within the Province, and toward neighbouring Uganda.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Health workers have started a massive measles vaccination campaign in north-east Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a region that’s in the grip of the second deadliest Ebola virus outbreak on record.

UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said on Thursday that it aims to inoculate 67,000 children in Ituri province.

They’re just a small fraction of the 400,000 people displaced by an upsurge in communal violence and clashes between Government forces and non-State armed groups in the resource-rich area.

According to UNICEF, nearly 2,000 people have died from measles across DRC so far this year, more than two-thirds of them children under five.

Latest health data from DRC point to around 115,000 cases of suspected measles in the country, far more than the 65,000 tally last year.

Ebola a complicating factor in protecting the vulnerable

Tackling the measles outbreak is complicated by the fact that its symptoms – fever, redness around the eyes, diarrhoea – are similar to those displayed by Ebola patients.

On Wednesday, the DRC authorities reported that the latest Ebola outbreak – affecting Ituri and neighbouring North Kivu province – has killed 1,646 people since it began last August, while 683 people have recovered.

To avoid infection with Ebola virus, measles vaccinators must wear surgical gowns to prevent contact with blood or other bodily fluids carrying the deadly haemorrhagic disease.

Initial focus is on ‘unsanitary’ camps for displaced

As the measles vaccination campaign begins in Ituri, the UN agency said that it is focusing initially on protecting 27,000 children living in crowded camps in and around Bunia, the largest town in the province.

Many have been displaced by multiple attacks and counter-attacks involving Hema herders and Lendu farmers in recent months, as well as clashes between Congolese armed forces and non-state actors.

“The combined threat of Ebola and measles for the thousands of families living in overcrowded and unsanitary displacement camps is unprecedented,” said UNICEF DRC Representative Edouard Beigbeder.

Ituri is home to 35 camps which are scattered across the province, UNICEF says.

Insecurity makes area ‘virtually inacessible’

Many of those living in them are far away from treatment centres, the UN agency added in a statement, which noted that armed groups have destroyed up to half the health facilities in territory that is “virtually inaccessible” owing to insecurity.

“The northeastern part of DRC is home to one of the worst humanitarian crises today,” Mr. Beigbeder said. “Whether it is from measles, Ebola, or the reality of living in a displacement camp, children are at grave risk. We must do everything we can to protect them.”

Measles campaigns are also being planned for Tchomia and Nyankunde health zones, elsewhere in Ituri.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Poliomielitis: climatic changes and impossibility in border control

Female African coders ‘on the front-line of the battle’ to change gender power relations: UN chief

1 in 4 Africans had to pay a bribe to access public services last year

Detecting online child sexual abuse requires strong safeguards

World is closer than ever to seeing polio disappear for good

Ending the era of dirty textiles

Sassoli to EU governments: Rise to the challenge. Find new shared ways to finance our recovery

Eurozone examines the prospect of issuing debt paper jointly

This heroic doctor is waging war on rape and the stigma around it

European Court of Justice to Google: It is #righttobeforgotten but not #righttoberemembered

Canada needs to increase foreign aid flows in line with its renewed engagement

Politics is failing to protect the Amazon. It’s time for finance to step up instead

‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ clean-up project launches trial run: UN Environment

How the institutional response to COVID-19 can prepare us for climate change

Here’s how community lending could help refugees find their feet

ACP-EU : Agreement on climate change, migration and post-Cotonou

Humanitarian Aid: €64 million for most vulnerable in Southern Africa

Antitrust: Commission consults stakeholders on a possible new competition tool

Medical students: The need for emigration

Charlotte in Ghana

Anti-Semitism ‘toxic to democracy’, UN expert warns, calling for better education

UN health emergency committee to re-convene on global threat posed by China coronavirus

Burnout is a pandemic. Why don’t we talk more about it?

“We have to do a better job of creating alternatives to violent extremism”, US Secretary of State John Kerry from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

More hiring freedom can reduce teacher shortages in disadvantaged areas

UN Mission in Afghanistan gravely concerned about ill-treatment of prisoners by Taliban, following first-hand testimony

COP25: UN climate change conference, 5 things you need to know

The banks dragged Eurozone down to fiscal abyss

This is why AI has a gender problem

Financial stability: Commission addresses risks of Libor cessation

Tigray conflict: EU humanitarian support to Ethiopian refugees reaching Sudan

For how long and at what cost can the ECB continue printing trillions to keep euro area going?

The movement of anti-vaccers: taking humanity back 200 years

How to unleash the potential of regions like São Paulo

What will it take for the world’s third-largest economy to empower women?

Drinking coffee could help you live longer, research finds

Humanitarian aid: €24.5 million in Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region

This young scientist is tackling food insecurity for the world’s most vulnerable groups

EU countries invested €5 trillion abroad

Mergers: Commission approves GlaxoSmithKline’s acquisition of Pfizer’s Consumer Health Business, subject to conditions

UNICEF urges ‘transformative shift’ in family-friendly work policies to reap ‘huge’ benefits

Economic growth ‘exceeds expectations’ but trade tensions are rising: UN report

Parliament elects Ursula von der Leyen as first female Commission President

State aid: Commission approves €380 million German rescue aid to Condor

Happy workers are more productive, research shows

Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community: Commission adopts second Action Programme for 2020

These 5 countries plan to slash their CO2 emissions. But how will they do it?

There are 3 barriers blocking good menstrual hygiene for all women. Here’s how we overcome them

Here’s how India can soar in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

ECB indicates south Europeans can endure more austerity

Let’s Learn

Electronic cigarettes, a better alternative or a well-advertised product

The miserables and the untouchables of the economic crisis

New UN agriculture agency report underscores value of fishing in fight against global hunger

What is the IMF telling Eurozone about fiscal and banking unification?

‘Grave consequences’ await if new deadly escalation of violence in Gaza continues – top UN official

Europe bows to Turkey’s rulers, sends Syrian refugees back to chaos

Eurozone: Subdued inflation can lead to more recession

UN updates guidelines to ensure successful return to civilian life for former combatants

World ‘off track’ to meet most Sustainable Development Goals on hunger, food security and nutrition

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s