Cholera outbreak kills 9 in DR Congo's Haut-Lomami Province

Friday December 17 2021
John Wessels | AFP

A member of the Congolese Red Cross explains the symptoms, risks and precautions of cholera to children in Kinshasa on January 18, 2018. Cholera has killed nine people in Haut-Lomami Province. PHOTO | AFP



Nine people have died of cholera in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Haut-Lomami Province.

Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) have warned that more lives could be lost due to lack of basic health services in Mulongo area.

In Kabamba region of Mulongo, the current epicenter of the epidemic, MSF has set up a cholera treatment center with a capacity of 30 beds in Mulongo.

Two cholera treatment units were also set up in Ngoya and Bukena health centers, to curb the spread of the disease. It appears the region faces an acute lack of health personnel and facilities.

"The MSF cannot do everything, it is important to call on other organisations and partners to respond to the multiple needs of the population, particularly in the water, hygiene and sanitation sector," said Clément Shap, Médecins Sans Frontières' project coordinator in Haut-Lomami Province.


“Health facilities in Mulongo are overwhelmed and cannot deal with this outbreak,” he added.

Local authorities say they have not experienced an outbreak of this magnitude since the last two major cholera outbreaks in 2017 and 2019 in Mulongo.

"Several factors including lack of latrines and clean drinking water have led to an increase of cholera cases in the Mulongo region," said Dr. Grégoire Tshilongo, MSF's medical activities manager in Mulongo.

"MSF is working in Mulongo area and in other six oral rehydration points where cholera cases are treated," said Dr Tshilongo. 

Doctors say that if nothing is done, the disease may claim more lives.