Cholera outbreak DREF operation n° MDRCG009 update n° 01

Period covered by this update: 25 October 2011 to 14 January 2012.

Summary: CHF 188,083 was allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 25 October 2011 to support the Congolese Red Cross National Society in delivering assistance to some 750,000 beneficiaries.

This DREF operation was initially planned for 6 of the country’s 12 divisions, namely Brazzaville, Sangha, Cuvette, Likouala, Plateaux and Pool; but considering the high probability and fear that the epidemic would spread, activities of the DREF were extended to Pointe Noire, a border and port city with poor sanitation facilities. Therefore, this DREF operation update highlights the achievements in the 7 divisions.

The first cases of cholera appeared in the Republic of Congo, in the Likouala, Cuvette and Plateaux divisions in June 2011; but Government officials did not declare the epidemic officially until July 2011.

At the time of launching this operation, 708 cases of cholera were reported nationwide. By 27 December 2011, seven hundred and seventy five cases were registered. Thirty two deaths were also reported, representing a 4.12% lethality rate.

With the funds allocated for this operation, Congolese Red Cross volunteers working in close collaboration with local health authorities sensitized 68,492 people. They also visited 20,623 households and noticed that 2,017 of those households were actually treating water at home prior to consumption. In any case, the volunteers briefed the members of all the households visited on home-based water treatment and conservation techniques. The volunteers also organized 441 sanitation sessions with massive participation of communities. They also identified 10 suspected cases of cholera and referred them to the nearest health centre after administering them oral rehydration solutions (ORS) at home. After taking these cholera patients to the hospital, Congolese Red Cross volunteers disinfected their households and the means that were used to transport them to the hospital. Red Cross volunteers also witnessed the death of a cholera patient and chlorinated the body prior to burial.

Throughout their intervention, Red Cross volunteers reached 68,492 people directly, and an estimated 750,000 people indirectly through the dissemination of cholera sensitization messages using local radio stations and various channels.

This operation is expected to be implemented over a three month period, for completion by end January. In line with Federation reporting standards, the Final Report (narrative and financial) is due 90 days after the end of the operation (by 24 April 2012).