DR Congo

DRC: Epidemics – Yellow Fever, Cholera & Measles, Emergency appeal n° MDRCD018 Operations update n° 2

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Summary:An outbreak of yellow fever was declared in DRC in March 2016. The epidemics that originated from neighbouring Angola initially affected 11 health zones in DRC, namely N’djili and Masina 2 health zones of Kinshasa Province, and Boma, Boma Bungu, Kitona, Muanda, Matadi, Nsona-Pangu, Nzanza, Kimpangu and Kimpese health zones of Kongo centrale Province. In reaction to this outbreak, Government organized a yellow fever vaccination campaign which took place from 24 May to 4 June 2016. Thanks to an initial DREF allocation of CHF 177,927, which was made on 20 May 2016, the DRC Red Cross contributed to the success of that campaign by engaging their volunteers in the following activities: social mobilization, communication on the risks of yellow fever, vector control, active search for yellow fever cases, and community surveillance of suspected cases.

While the vaccination campaign was on-going, the epidemic affected new localities, namely the Kahemba, Kajiji and Kisandji health zones of Kwango Province, as well as the Kinsenzo health zone of Kinshasa Province. This prompted the Minister of Public Health (MoPH) to officially declare the outbreak of the yellow fever epidemic in the Kinshasa, Kongo Centrale and Kwango provinces of DRC on 20 June 2016. Two immunization campaigns were then planned: the first one, a reactive campaign in the Kahemba, Kajiji, Kisandji and Kinsenzo health zones, and a second one, a preventive vaccination campaign in the 32 health zones of Kinshasa and in 15 health zones along the borders with Angola, all in a bit to prevent the spread of the epidemics in the remaining health zones and provinces of DRC.

Simultaneously, measles and cholera outbreaks were declared in some health zones with a risk of spreading across the country. From week 1 to week 30 of 2016, 63 cases of Yellow Fever had been confirmed in DRC. The 63 cases include 8 indigenous cases, 3 sylvatic cases, and 49 cases confirmed as being imported, mainly from neighbouring Angola. From week 1 to week 28, some 13 health zones in 8 provinces notified 7,498 suspected cases of measles and 117 deaths. Out of the cases notified, 1,216 cases have been examined, and 106 of them have been confirmed as being cases of IGM+ measles. During the same period, 13,998 cases of cholera and 341 deaths have been notified. While the number of cases were going down until week 24, a new wave of cholera cases and deaths started appearing, particularly during weeks 28 and 29.

The situation could no longer be managed through the initial DREF operation. Thus, on behalf of the host National Society (NS), IFRC launched an emergency appeal on 21 July 2016 seeking CHF 2,247,478 to enable DRC Red Cross volunteers to carry out the following activities: social mobilization, vector control, community surveillance, active search for suspected cases, and hygiene promotion within the framework of the fight against yellow fever, measles and cholera epidemics in Kinshasa, Kongo Centrale, Kwango, Kasaï, Kasaï Central, Equateur and Mongala provinces of DRC. A DREF loan of CHF 220,000 was allocated on 21 July 2016 to enable the NS to continue activities while contributions to the emergency appeal are coming in from potential donors.

While the yellow fever vaccination campaign was being prepared, 1 case of yellow fever was reported and confirmed in Dilolo health zone of Lualaba Province of DRC. Consequently, MoPH decided to include 4 health zones of Lualaba Province in the campaign, and this brought the total number of people concerned by the yellow fever vaccination campaign from 23,970,327 to 25,647,615 people, and increased the number of people being assisted by the emergency appeal from 12,327,181 to 12,823,808 people as described in the following table. (see report)

The planned social mobilization activities have been carried out, with no modification to the budget.
IFRC supported the organization of a NS General Assembly (GA), which resulted in the election of a new President for the NS on 17 August 2016. IFRC has also deployed its Regional Health Coordinator, Communications Officer and Finance Officer to help the DRC Red Cross start the operation while the planned delegates are being recruited. Shortlisting has been done and interviews are completed. The best candidates will be deployed to DRC in the coming days.

To date, this Emergency Appeal has received financial and human resources support from Swedish RC, Canadian RC, Netherlands RC, Japanese government and Japanese RC. IFRC on behalf of DRC Red Cross express gratitude to those partners who have so far contributed to this emergency appeal.