Since the beginning of this year, at least 428 people have died and 30,000 others infected in Southeast Democractic Republic of the Congo due to a measles outbreak. The disease is causing extensive damage to the former Katanga province. Furthermore, it’s recent division into four provinces, poses a geographical challenge for vaccination campaigns.
According to medical charity MSF, it only costs about $1 to vaccinate a child against measles. However, the location of the existing outbreak, the tropical climate and the lack of accessibility to adequate resources are hampering vaccination and making the implementation of vaccination campaigns and relief efforts in the affected areas much more challenging. Aurore Tacnet, MSF vaccination referent in Paris said that even though the vaccine against measles is very effective, it is not well suited to that environment as it requires a thorough cold chain that is difficult to maintain in such conditions. Such constraints result in a significant cost as it would be a huge demand in terms of equipment.
Measles is highly contagious and can cause many health complications such as pneumonia. It is one of the major causes of death among young children and mortality rates can be as high as 20 percent in impoverished nations.
Reference: Winsor, M (2015). Congo Measles Outbreak 2015: At least 428 people killed, 30,000 infected in mining region, UN says. ibtimes, 16th October, retrieved 29 October 2015, from <http://www.ibtimes.com/congo-measles-outbreak-2015-least-428-people-killed-30000-infected-mining-region-un-2144363>