It pains our hearts to report that more than 4,000 of our brothers and sisters have died from the fatal measles outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This sad news was broken to the world by UNICEF at the beginning of October 2019.
UNICEF said that the cases of measles in Congo have risen to 203,179 people, and also that the cases would have been preventable. They also added that 90% of the 4,096 who have died so far from this deadly reoccurring virus were children below the tender age of 5. Very sad!!!
In a shocking statement, UNICEF told CNN that “The number of measles cases in DRC this year is more than triple the number recorded for all of 2018. The measles outbreak in DRC has become far deadlier than Ebola, which to date, has taken 2,143 lives.”
The measles virus is highly contagious and spreads from person to person either through sneezing, coughing, or contact with body fluids. Without immunization against the measles virus, as much as 90% of those who come close to the infected person will be infected with the virus. Those who are at a higher risk of contracting the measles virus are young children.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has shared its concern and need for 95% of Congo’s population to be vaccinated with at least two doses of the measles vaccine. This is to ensure that herd immunity is achieved and to further save people who risk contracting the deadly virus. Their concerns are made public on the grounds that only about 57% of people in Congo were vaccinated in 2018.
The UNICEF Rep in DRC, Edouard Beigbeder, blames much of the spread of the virus on the lack of access to proper health care when the children fall sick. He also mentioned the mistrust of vaccines and vaccinators by the locals.
This mistrust, from what we have gathered, stems from the many viruses which have infiltrated Africa ever since the colonial days. Other factors that make Africans mistrust the vaccines from the West, are the confessions from various sources of how colonial agents and others went about Africa spreading various viruses through vaccinations and health care provisions.
It important for UNICEF to also ensure that the vaccines which they bring to Africa are what they say it is, and are properly manufactured without any side effects. A report by Kenya doctor once accused UNICEF of using vaccines to make their women barren.
UNICEF and the WHO have partnered with the government of Congo to launch an emergency vaccination campaign that targets a total of 825,000 children.
WHO has warned that the measles outbreak in Congo needs to be put in check, as the cases of 2019 are three times more than those of 2018. WHO reports that Congo accounts for the highest amount of infected people, followed by Madagascar and Ukraine. Other countries that follow are Cameroon, Angola, Chad, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Sudan, South Sudan, and Thailand.
Our hearts and prayers go out to our brothers and sisters in Congo. This is because Congo has been through a lot ever since the days of colonialism to date. It may seem like Congo can’t put itself together and stay free from wars, disease, and poverty, but that is far from the truth. Those who know how the world works, know that the troubles in Congo are caused by a certain group of people who will do all that is their power to see Congo on its knees, so they can continue to suck her dry of her resources.
We pray Congo survives the nightmare and stands tall again. We pray Africa survives the nefarious attacks on its peoples, resources, economy, health and other facets of society and life.