The Red Cross launched a $1.4 million emergency appeal Wednesday to fight the spread of yellow fever in Angola, which faces its worst outbreak in 30 years.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said in a statement that it would work with the Angola Red Cross to reach 9 million people by engaging communities and promoting health care and hygiene.
“The need for a large-scale community engagement approach is increasingly important as vaccination campaigns scale up,” said Dr. Julie Lyn Hall, IFRC Director of Health. “As much as we try to provide solutions, it is the communities who are the drivers of the response and are the key to the success of it.
So far, over 15 million doses of the Yellow Fever vaccine have been delivered to Angola and the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, but lack of funding, urgent need, and the difficulty of making the vaccine have resulted in significant shortages.
Yellow fever is an acute viral disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The mosquito that transmits the virus is the same one responsible for the Zika virus, dengue fever and Chikungunya.
The yellow fever virus is usually very mild, and most people who are infected have few or no symptoms. However, about 15 percent of patients become severely ill and up to 50 percent of those die if left without treatment.