The Multisectoral Strategic Plan for the Elimination of Cholera 2018-2022 (PMSEC 2018-2022) in the DRC was validated on January 23-24, 2018 in Kinshasa. “The validation workshop for the PMSEC is a new page in the country's glorious history of eliminating cholera," said Health Minister Dr Oly Ilunga Kalenga at the launch of the workshop last Tuesday. The two-day workshop brought together all governmental and non-governmental actors involved in the fight against cholera in the DRC.
At the close of the workshop last week, the Minister of State for Planning, Modeste Bahati Lukwebo, noted the government's willingness to take responsibility for the implementation of the plan. M. Bahati Lukwebo also emphasized that this tool requires the implication of all technical and financial partners (the World Bank, UNICEF, the WHO and VEOLIA), before thanking them for their significant support in producing the plan.
Environment Minister Amy Ambatobe stated that this new plan brings several innovations. The various axes include the strengthening of global surveillance activities, sustainable improvements in access to potable water in cholera hotspots, as well as interventions to improve access to drinking water, hygiene and proper sanitation in all areas affected by cholera epidemics, both endemic and epidemic.
According to Thierry Vandevelde, a strategy and prospect for the future are needed to overcome this disease now more than ever. Dr. Vandevelde added that “the new plan will pave the way for other countries in the fight against cholera”. In an appeal to mobilize funds for the plan at both national and international levels, he reminded attendants that the PMSEC 2018-2022 aims to address specific Sustainable Development Goals, which will contribute to improving the health status of the DRC population by reducing morbidity and mortality due to cholera and other diarrheal diseases.
The validation of the PMSEC 2018-2022 is very timely, as the DRC is currently battling the worst cholera epidemic since 1994. According to the Ministry of Health and UNICEF, a total of 55,024 suspected cholera cases were reported in 2017, and 1,784 cases have been recorded during the first two weeks of 2018.