Not one but two pieces of excellent medical news out of Africa this week.
The Democratic Republic of Congo announces that the world’s worst measles outbreak which killed more than 7000 children under five-years-old is over.
The announcement by Health Minister Eteni Londondo still requires authentication by the World Health Organization which a day earlier
declared Africa free of wild polio.
The measles outbreak occurred 25-months ago in the south-eastern corner of the DRC and then spread to all 26 provinces.
It infected 335 000 children who suffered blindness, brain swelling, diarrhea and respiratory infection.
Congo’s hard-pressed medical infrastructure mounted a massive vaccination programme targeting millions of children.
Fighting measles, they were also combatting an EBOLA outbreak that killed 2287 people, vaccine-induced polio, COVID 19, which has killed 251 of the nearly 10 000 people it sickened, and even the bubonic plague.
The end of the Congolese outbreak doesn’t allow medics to take their foot off the gas there or in any low income country.
An article in The Lancet earlier this year quoted Tanja Ducomble and Etienne Gignano of Medecins Sans Frontieres saying outbreaks occur every two years in the DRC another countries that have a gap in vaccinations and poor access to health care.
Madagascar, Chad and Nigeria are African countries still fighting outbreaks and further afield the Philippines, Yemen and Ukraine are currently experiencing extensive measles infections.