Author Topic: Shortage of Syringes slow down Congo's Fight Against Yellow Fever  (Read 130 times)

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A shortage of syringes is hampering plans to vaccinate people in Democratic Republic of Congo against a yellow fever epidemic despite the arrival of more than one million doses of vaccine, health officials said on Tuesday.

Congo's government declared a yellow fever epidemic last month in the capital Kinshasa and two other provinces near the border with Angola.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says some 1,400 suspected cases of the hemorrhagic virus in Congo have resulted so far in 82 deaths and is particularly concerned about conditions in Kinshasa, a city of 12 million with poor health services and a climate conducive to mosquitoes.

The disease has killed 350 people in Angola since December.

The WHO plans to begin a vaccination campaign in the province of Kwango near the Angolan border on July 20 but the U.N. body's spokesman in Congo, Eugene Kabambi, said the country had only about four million syringes but needed 10 million.

Kabambi said some 1.08 million vaccine doses had arrived in Kinshasa in recent days, but declined to say when he thought more syringes might be delivered.

Health officials are reluctant to begin the vaccination campaign in only one zone in densely-populated Kinshasa for reasons of public safety and order.

"If we only organize in Kisenso, there will be huge crowds coming to Kisenso to obtain the vaccine and that could become unmanageable," Kabambi said, referring to the first zone officials plan to target in the capital city. "So we're going to wait a little to obtain more [syringes]."


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