DRC:
Nord-est du Congo

Nord-est du Congo

Image by andré thiel


Kinshasa / London, 24 January 2018 – The Democratic Republic of Congo's most significant cholera outbreak in 20 years has now reached the country’s capital, Kinshasa. 
Between the end of November and 22.1.2018, health authorities indicated 826 suspected new cases and 32 deaths (mortality rate 3.8%).
Kinshasa is a megalopolis of 12 million people, the nerve centre of the country’s trade and home to one in every six Congolese. It is vulnerable to cholera because of a lack of drinking water, a lack of sanitation, and a lack of health infrastructure that is suited to providing treatment in the areas that are affected.
MSF has treated 157 patients since starting activities on 16.1.2018. 40% were severely dehydrated. 133 patients have been already discharged and one has died. 
“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,” said Jean Liyolongo, from MSF’s Emergency Pool in Congo.
Teams from MSF’s Emergency Pool have bolstered two Cholera Treatment Units (CTUs) in Camp Luka and Pakadjuma to ensure 24/7 patient care in the most affected health zones (Binza Méteo, Kitambo and Limete). MSF is also running 10 rehydration points, as well as epidemiological surveillance, health education, and an ambulance service.
“A few days ago I got very ill, with severe diarrhoea and vomiting,” said Marie (name changed), a patient in MSF’s health centre in Camp Luka. “In my neighbourhood there were already a lot of cholera cases. That’s why I asked my husband to take me to the health centre. I was very weak and so we tried to take a moto-taxi but everyone refused us. Here in Kinshasa there’s a lot of stigma attached to cholera, it’s a shameful illness. My husband had to carry me on his back for three kilometres to get me here."
Notes
  • In 2017, 55,000 people fell ill from cholera across 24 of DRC’s 26 provinces, and 1190 died. Medecins Sans Frontieres treated half of these patients (about 25,300 people).
  • Cholera is a highly contagious disease in areas where access to drinking water and sanitation is poor. It causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting, leading to patients becoming rapidly dehydrated. Present in the country since the 1970s, it is endemic to nine provinces of DRC, especially around the Great Lakes in the east of the country. 
  • MSF has worked in DRC since 1981 and today works in 20 of the country’s 26 provinces, offering medical care to the victims of conflict and violence, to displaced people and to those suffering in epidemics or pandemics like cholera, measles and HIV/AIDS. Emergency response teams are ready to react across the whole country in case of an epidemic, a natural disaster or conflict.
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