UNICEF and partners respond to unprecedented cholera outbreak in Sankuru, DR Congo
KINSHASA, SEPTEMBER 1, 2022 - A UNICEF multi-sectoral team is being deployed along with life-saving supplies in the province of Sankuru to help the Congolese Health Ministry control an unusual outbreak of cholera.
More than 30,000 people are threatened by the new outbreak, including more than 17,000 children. UNICEF is concerned about an alarming fatality rate of nearly 10%. Of the 259 suspected cases reported as of August 29, 2022, 24 have died, including 8 children.
"We are very concerned about the spread of this cholera outbreak because of the large number of transmission routes in the region. Children are often the first victims of cholera, which can spread very quickly if our response is not reinforced as soon as possible," said Grant Leaity, UNICEF Representative in DRC.
Health, water and sanitation services are being deployed in the region by community engagement specialists who have been on the ground since August 17. More than 7 tons of medical, water and sanitation supplies have been sent to support the overall response undertaken by the authorities.
"There are many challenges on the ground, especially the limited number of staff and resources. Many areas in Sankuru are isolated and mobile communication is very limited, which affects the monitoring and effectiveness of response teams," said Mr Leaity.
UNICEF has already mobilised US$ 170,000 of its own resources to respond to this emergency. A total of US$2.3 million is needed to quickly strengthen emergency activities and prevent the spread of the epidemic. The main objective is to protect children in Sankuru province, as well as in the neighbouring provinces of Haut-Lomami, Tanganyika and South Kivu.