MSF combats meningitis in eastern DRC
20 November 2001
On the island of Idjwi, eastern DRC, MSF is organising a vaccination campaign for 100,000 of the 140,000 inhabitants of the island. On Idjwi, six cases of meningitis have been confirmed by the MSF team there. The actual vaccination will start a week on Nov 26, but the team is already assisting the treatment of meningitis patients with a Catholic mission on the island with drugs and training Establishing the intervention was complicated since the existing lab facilities were insufficient to confirm the epidemic quickly. Meanwhile MSF has flown in its own lab equipment to carry out tests MSF co-ordinated with other MSF operations in the Central African Republic and in Kisangani, as well as Aviation Sans FrontiÃ?¨res, bringing in 75,000 vaccines and cold-chain material on short notice It is possible that the epidemic will spread to the city of Bukavu where 400,000 people live. Near Katana, on the shore of the lake in which Idjwi island is located, is where the outbreak started and is still continuing. The IRC has started an intervention there. Apart from meningitis, some cases of cholera have been confirmed to the south of Bukavu. MSF is fighting the disease there MSF is also running an HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment project in Bukavu.