Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): Measles outbreaks - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF n° MDRCD028 / PCD053

Description of the disaster

In addition to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak that has been raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2018, the country is facing two other major outbreaks, including measles and cholera as evidenced by the Outbreak Observatory in an article published in July 2019 on the DRC.

The details provided hereafter only refer to measles as other strategies will be used to respond to cholera. The DRC's Ministry of Health declared a measles outbreak in the country on 10 June 2019, presenting it as the deadliest outbreak in the country since the 2010-2011 outbreak which caused at least 210 deaths according to Médecins Sans Frontières. A such, this response is being proposed due to insufficient capacities on the ground, as government and other partners are now overwhelmed with the extension of the epidemic to all provinces of the country, to support immunization campaigns which have been moved forward to November and December 2019 due to the emergency situation. Indeed, between January and August 2019, measles infected more than 145,000 people and killed 2,758 people; more deaths in seven months than the EVD in one year as reported by the Ministry of Health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in a presentation made in Kinshasa in late September 2019, the 2019 outbreak affects all 26 provinces of the DRC, exactly 192 of the 519 health zones in the country. In week 36 of the current year alone, 5,387 suspected cases of measles were reported, with 134 deaths (2.5% lethality), while from week 1 to week 36, the affected health zones recorded 183,837 suspected cases and 3,667 deaths, with a lethality of 2.0%. The provinces that reported most cases are Tshopo and Kasaï.

Although all provinces are affected, response campaigns and other interventions have so far targeted only the provinces in red on the map at the left. There is an urgent need to strengthen response activities in the provinces that have already benefited from the interventions, and especially to intervene in the affected provinces that are still waiting for humanitarian action. To note, an intervention would be more relevant now as immunization campaign dates have been moved forward from December to November, because during the first phase, the lack of community health workers had a negative impact on the campaign results, which DRC RC with its experience in social mobilisation aims to improve through the deployment of trained volunteers.