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The Biggest Threat to Children in the DRC

Cradled by her mother, Dobo lies in the ward of a health centre in a remote town in northern Democratic Republic of Congo where mosquito nets on sticks droop over rusting metal beds, and doctors work frantically to contain a deadly virus. Dobo does not have the new coronavirus or Ebola. She has measles, a preventable but extremely contagious disease that since January 2019 has ripped through Congo unchecked into remote regions. Some 6,400 people have died, according to official figures, though healthcare workers say the number is likely much higher because reporting rates are so low. Underfunded and delayed government vaccination drives in the vast Central African nation have left millions of hard-to-reach children vulnerable. Dud vaccines have left thousands of others at risk without knowing, local and international health workers say, in a nation of 81 million people that is ten times the size of Britain.