Eleven provinces and 66 health zones were affected by the disease in Week 41 (9-15 October 2017). 1,854 suspected cases of cholera and 26 deaths were recorded. This equates to a mortality rate of 1.4%, slightly above the 1% rate put forward by the World Health Organisation (WHO)
Cholera appeared in the Kasaï Region during week 39. However, the same progression observed in the three health zones in the affected region, namely Ilebo, Mikope and Mushenge, did not lead to the explosion that had been feared, notably due to the proactivity of the National Program for the Elimination of Cholera and other Diarrheal Diseases teams.
Having previously identified the zones where it was most likely that cholera would enter Kasaï, the Ministry of Health teams proactively located themselves in the Dibaya area, along the River Kasaï, not far from Ilebo. Consequently, when the first cases appeared, they were the first to arrive on the ground, well before the other humanitarian stakeholders. Moreover, over a week after cholera cases were reported in this area, the teams were still the only care providers in Ilebo treating patients. In Professor Bompangue’s view, this demonstrates the effective nature of the response. The programme teams continue to monitor the cholera epidemic in DRC and are making considerable efforts in the sanctuary areas where there is still intense activity, specifically Nord-Kivu, Kongo Central and Haut-Katanga.
According to Professor Bompangue, the key initiatives that ensured that the response was effective were the early identification of sanctuary areas and sources of contamination, and people from infected areas being quickly transported to treatment facilities. In addition to these core initiatives, the ministry is also considering additional initiatives such as vaccination in the very isolated health zones and those with poor access to water, such as some regions of Haut-Lomami.
A positive trend has been recorded in the provinces of Kongo Central (with the Kimpese area), Haut-Katanga (with the areas of the rural swathe of Lubumbashi) and especially Nord-Kivu. However, the situation is still worrying in Kirotshe, Kibua, Nyiragongo, Rutshuru, Mweso, and Pinga. Inadequate community-based activities are the main reason for the persistence and spread of the number of cases in these areas.
38,154 confirmed cases and 709 deaths have been recorded since the outbreak of the cholera epidemic in July 2017, making for a 1.8% mortality rate. Moreover, at least one case of cholera has been identified in 21 of the country’s 26 provinces and 194 of the 515 health zones have been affected at least once.
DRC Ministry of Health information - Copyright © 2017