News

DRC Braces for Worsening Cholera Outbreak

Joe DeCapua

The number of cholera cases this year in the Democratic Republic of Congo could far surpass the total for 2011. Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by contaminated food or water. U.N. officials are calling for an increase in prevention programs in a country where the disease has become endemic.

U.N. humanitarian spokesman Yvon Edoumou described the cholera situation in the DRC as bleak.

“In 2011, we had about 22,000 cases of cholera throughout the country. So far, for the first three months of 2012 we have just about 8,000 cases. So we’re looking at already 40 percent of the total caseload that was reported last year. At the current rate that we’re going by the end of 2012 we’ll be well above the caseload for last year,” he said.

The cholera problem is especially bad in the Eastern DRC. South Kivu is the most affected province with more than 2,200 cases.

“So far the numbers are quite high. Just an example, for the whole of last year in Eastern DRC we had 150 deaths. So far for this year we have 77 deaths. I’m talking about Eastern DRC. So we’re already at the 50 percent of the total number of deaths last year,” he said.

For all of DRC, 120 cholera deaths have been reported from January to March.

Getting a step ahead is difficult

Edoumou is with the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs or OCHA and is based in the capital Kinshasa. He said it’s difficult to stay ahead of the outbreak.

"Cholera is linked to water and sanitation and DRC is a country that for many, many years has had a very dysfunctional water and sanitation system in terms of sewage, in terms of draining, in terms of access to clean water. And it is not something that goes away just by snapping your fingers,” said Edoumou.

The United Nations, the Congolese government, local and international NGOs have joined forces to provide cholera education and prevention programs as well as treatment centers.

The World Health Organization said the most important treatment is rehydration. It replaces water and salts lost through severe diarrhea and vomiting. Most patients can be rehydrated quickly by drinking large amounts of oral rehydration salts. However, some may need intravenous fluid.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs