DR Congo reports 16pc of Africa cholera cases last year

A resident of Mathare slums in Nairobi is immunized against cholera on the first week of the drive that is geared towards curbing the spread of the disease. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The African continent has recorded 4,419 cholera-related deaths and 266,436 cases over the past year, with over 16 percent of cases reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

The DRC, one of the worst cholera-affected countries in Africa, also reported 97.5 percent of monkeypox cases in the continent during the same period, said the Africa CDC, the African Union's autonomous public health agency, in a statement issued over the weekend.

From January 2023 to Jan. 31, 2024, the continent reported 16,549 monkeypox cases and 853 deaths.

The statement followed a high-level mission to the DRC from Feb. 9 to 10 to support the country's health initiatives through enhanced partnerships and collaboration in addressing emerging and endemic diseases.

The mission mainly focused on the epidemiological situation of monkeypox and cholera, identified response challenges and mobilized partners' support for government efforts, the Africa CDC said.

Noting the vital role of action-oriented partnerships in line with its endeavor to establish a new public health order in Africa, the agency underscored the need to rally support for preventing and controlling cholera and monkeypox outbreaks in the DRC.

Jean Kaseya, director general of Africa CDC, highlighted the agency's support for cholera and monkeypox response efforts in the country, including deploying experts, training local health workers on surveillance, providing diagnostics and supporting genomics initiatives.

Noting the increasing trend and risk of disease spread in the country, Kaseya called for a renewed commitment by all partners and heightened response efforts to prevent further spread and control the outbreaks, according to the statement.

Speaking to Xinhua recently, Kaseya underscored the urgency of building African countries' capabilities to prevent and respond to disease outbreaks, with the continent experiencing two new disease outbreaks every week on average.

He said the Africa CDC is working to ensure African countries are well-prepared to prevent and respond to current and future disease outbreaks.