MEASLES EPIDEMIC UPDATE

Link here to our previous entry on Mother’s Day for more information on the measles epidemic.

Merci beaucoup to Dr. Bosolo, rural health zone doctor for Equatorial Province, who has just sent us a report on the measles epidemic that struck the region last December.  He (and we) thank Rotary Hunters Hill (Sydney, Australia) and Global Ministries for sending funds that bought medicines. Even though the epidemic broke out in December 2012, it took 5 months to raise funds and for Dr. Bosolo and other health care workers to travel by dugout canoe to Lotumbe village. They arrived on May 4, 2103.

The photos below have been taken with mobile phones (charged at the provincial capital, more than 300 kms away).

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The most heavily impacted area was Nkasa, a rural area of approx. 15,000 people. Its remoteness caused many deaths, because it is 2 days by paddling in a dugout canoe from Lotumbe (which is 7 days by paddling from the provincial capital).  The measles epidemic had 191 documented cases between December 2012-March 2013 (with 71 deaths); another 62 cases were reported in April (with 5 deaths).  Due to the area’s remoteness, families with measles weren’t able to access the rural health zone to report on cases, and the area also doesn’t have electricity/generators with refrigerated cases to hold preventative vaccinations.

To assist with future epidemics, the doctor is seeking funds to buy a fridge operated by petrol or solar panels, to be based at Nkasa health centre; to continue training and supervising health care workers in this area; to seek basic medical equipment and medicines. If you would like to know more about how you might help, please contact HandUp Congo director, Lucy Hobgood-Brown, on lucy@claypartners.com.

Thank you, Rotary Hunters Hill, for your response to this medical emergency!