WHO supports the Democratic Republic of the Congo to contain a yellow fever outbreak

WHO supports the Democratic Republic of the Congo to contain a yellow fever outbreak

On 20 June the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Ministry of Health declared a yellow fever epidemic in 3 provinces. Concern continues to grow about the spread of the disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo, particularly in border zones and in densely populated Kinshasa, home to more than 10 million people. Kisenso, one of Kinshasa’s 35 health zones, has seen a cluster of suspect and confirmed cases of yellow fever among children living in neighbouring streets.

This photo story illustrates how WHO is working with the Ministry of Health to contain the outbreak.

Kisenso, the latest health zone affected by yellow fever

Kisenso health zone is a lush, rural district that sits on a hill above Kinshasa. It is home to 400 000 people, most of whom live in acute poverty.

Environmental determinants of health
Mosquito-bome diseases thrive in the rich green vegetation. The situation is made worse die to lack of infrastructure, such as running water and accessible roads.

Yellow fever outbreak affects young and old
The Lubaki family has been severly affected by the yellow fever outbreak. 13-year-old Möise, their eldest son died in early June and 2-year-old Kelly is seriously ill in hospital where Mrs Lukabi is by his beside. 9-year-old Morgan (pictured far left) was also sick but has recovered.

Daily disease surveillance essential to stop the outbreak
Dr. Valentin Ndaye Shimiye is Chief Medical Officer of Kisenso Health Zone. Each health zone centre has been provided with a mobile phone to send daily notifications of new suspect cases in their area. Here Dr. Shimiye visits the marketplace to monitor surveillance efforts. Daily monitoring is vital to track the spread of the disease and ensure and effective response.

Supporting surveillance efforts
WHO, with the support of partners, is the supporting surveillance efforts by sending teams into the local health zones top actively search out new suspects cases of yellow fever. Blood samples are collected to confirm whether they have yellow fever in order to commence treatment.

Local health workers make a difference
Carine Wedjelo is 1 of 2 community health educators working in the Kisenso helath zone. Mrs Wedjelo strives to convince families to sleep under mosquito nets and bring their sick relatives to the local health centre as soon as they have fever or other symptoms of mosquito-borne diseases.

The importance of routine immunization
Despite efforts of the small local health centres, many people remain unvaccinated for yellow fever. The vaccination is not given until infants are 9-months-old and babies often miss out on health check-ups and vaccinations.

Vaccination crucial to contain the outbreak
More than 2 million people in Kinshasa have been vaccinated in mass campaigns held in late May 2016 to control the outbreak. With the support of WHO and partners, the government plans to vaccinate a further 3 million people in other health zones in the country.

Original Report Credit: http://www.who.int/features/2016/drc-yellow-fever/en/

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