The measles epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has killed over 6,000 people, the World Health Organisation said Wednesday, urging for more funding from donors to contain the outbreak.
Around 3,10,000 measles cases have been reported in Congo since the start of 2019, the WHO said. This is the world’s largest and fastest growing epidemic, the agency declared.
“Lack of funding remains a huge impediment to successfully curbing the outbreak. So far, $27.6 million have been mobilised,” it said. “However, a further $40 million are required for a six-month plan to extend the vaccination to children between six and 14 years.”
Congo’s government, along with the WHO and Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, launched an emergency vaccination campaign in September last year. More than 18 million children under five years have been vaccinated but coverage remains unsatisfactory, international partners say.
The epidemic has also worsened because of the Ebola outbreak and a lack of public trust in the healthcare system in Congo. Four health workers were killed in November last year.
The country has been suffering from the Ebola epidemic since 2018. Labelled the world’s second worst epidemic, Ebola has affected 3,392 people and resulted in 2,235 deaths.