Tag Archives: Albino Killings

Cholera, Measles Kill Hundreds:DRC

Outbreaks of measles and cholera in parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo have killed hundreds of people, with thousands more infected, says an official of the UN World Health Organization (WHO).
“Since September 2010, 115,484 measles cases and 1,145 related deaths have been reported in South Kivu, Katanga, Maniema, Kasaï Occidental, Equateur, Bas Congo and Kasaï Oriental provinces,” Tarik Jasarevic, a WHO media and advocacy officer, told IRIN.

According to Jasarevic, a lack of government funding halted follow-up mass immunization activities in the regions, leading to the measles outbreak.

Close to six million children were vaccinated in the most affected areas in April and May, but the epidemic spread to other provinces not covered in the immunization campaign.

Mass immunization campaigns are planned. At least 915,000 children in nine provinces are targeted for vaccination in the first two campaigns scheduled for July.

WHO and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are seeking an additional US$9 million to carry out these two campaigns in September and the first semester of 2012.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease, preventable by immunization. It can cause complications such as blindness, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), severe diarrhoea, ear infections and pneumonia.

Cholera 

Some 1,449 cholera cases and 74 deaths have also been recorded since March in Kisangani, Orientale, with the outbreak spreading along the Congo River to Bandundu and Equateur provinces and to Kinshasa, the capital, Jasarevic said. As of 8 July, 3,245 cholera cases had been reported with 192 deaths.

The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) is supporting the DRC Red Cross in hygiene promotion activities in the affected provinces, according to a 13 July report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The health ministry and partners are also setting up water chlorination points and providing free cholera treatment to contain the outbreak, said Jasarevic.

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by the consumption of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Associated diarrhoea and vomiting can lead to severe dehydration and death without prompt treatment.

The DRC is also grappling with new cases of the wild polio virus, with a total of 62 cases recorded by 7 July, according to Victor Makwenge Kaput, the Minister of Public Health.

[Courtesy of IRIN]

East Africa: Albinos Killed for Body Parts

Thousands of peple with albinism in Tanzania and Kenya have left their home villages out of fear of persecution and moved to live in urban areas where they believe they are safer, according to activists defending the rights of albinos.

Most reported killings have occurred in Tanzania, where a “set” including limbs, ears, tongue, nose and genitals sells for thousands of dollars. The meeting heard that persecution of albinos was also common in Kenya. In August, a man was arrested for attempting to sell a Kenyan albino for US$250,000.

Albinos are people with a genetically inherited condition caused by the body’s inability to produce melanin pigment. This pigment helps the skin protect itself from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. Their killings are driven by the false belief that their body parts have a special potency when included in concoctions used in witchcraft.

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