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CHOLERA OUTBREAK IN DRC CAMP AND COVID-19 IMPACTING CHINA'S ELDERLY POPULATION

December 22-28, 2022 | Issue 33 - Emergency Management, Health & Hazards (EMH2)

Jennifer Radlinsky, Nancy Lattimer, Amine Sahli, Daniel Ruiz, Sofia Staderini

Salomon Montaguth, Editor; Deepankar Patil, Senior Editor


Cholera Bacteria[1]


Date: December 22, 2022

Location: Kanyaruchinya, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Parties involved: DRC; North Kivu Provincial Health Division; Congolese internally displaced people (IDPs); March 23 Movement (M23) rebels; regional forces; humanitarian organizations

The event: The North Kivu Provincial Health Division announced on Thursday that a displacement camp in Kanyaruchinya had over 1,000 cholera cases and that seven people had died. The camp lacks sufficient countermeasures and resources to control the epidemic.[2] IDPs fleeing the ongoing conflict between M23 rebels and regional forces are placed at Kanyaruchinya.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • IDPs will almost certainly continue to arrive at Kanyaruchinya, very likely straining the camp’s existing medical resources and sanitation facilities. New arrivals will likely introduce other diseases, such as COVID-19 and typhoid fever, to the camp’s population, very likely increasing IDPs’ vulnerability to cholera. These factors will very likely increase the epidemic’s morbidity and mortality rates, very likely affecting children and the elderly most acutely.

  • The conflict will very likely hinder humanitarian organizations’ epidemic response, likely slowing the delivery of humanitarian aid and supplies to Kanyaruchinya. Humanitarian organizations will likely face roadblocks and delays while traveling by road in eastern DRC, and the Kanyaruchinya camp will almost certainly be cut off from supplies if M23 rebels capture nearby Goma. Medical treatment delays will almost certainly worsen cholera patients’ outlooks, and a shortage of water purification tablets will very likely facilitate the disease’s spread.


Date: December 22, 2022

Location: China

Parties involved: China; Chinese government; Chinese healthcare; Chinese citizens; Chinese elderly population; USA; European Union (EU); international community; World Health Organization (WHO)

The event: The latest COVID-19 surge across China is mostly affecting the elderly population. Elderly people in China have low vaccination rates. The government has recently ended mandatory mass testing amidst rising infections.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The Chinese government will likely institute immediate measures to curb the COVID-19 infection rate among its elderly population, likely by conducting mass vaccination drives for elderly people. The Chinese government is likely to apply fines and other punitive measures against elderly citizens who refuse to be vaccinated, in order to persuade other citizens to get vaccinated and increase vaccination rates. The Chinese government will likely increase restrictions in the country, deploying more police and health personnel on the streets to mitigate the virus’ spread.

  • The US and international health agencies such as the WHO will very likely encourage China to boost its vaccination program, testing, and treatment availability for China’s elderly population, to limit COVID-19 cases and mutation of the virus. They will very likely take precautionary measures for Chinese travelers, such as obligatory Covid-19 testing and eventual quarantine to avoid the global spread of the virus. The international community will likely provide economic and medical help to China to improve pandemic management as cases increase in the short-term.

 

[1]Cholera bacteria (Vibrio cholerae)” by Sanofi Pasteur licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Nord-Kivu : plus de 1000 cas de choléra notifiés en une semaine à Kanyaruchinya, Radio Okapi, December 2022, https://www.radiookapi.net/2022/12/22/actualite/sante/nord-kivu-plus-de-1000-cas-de-cholera-notifies-en-une-semaine (translated by Amine Sahli)

[3] Inside DRC’s Kanyaruchinya camp where residents displaced by war try to survive, Africanews, December 2022, https://www.africanews.com/2022/12/07/inside-drcs-kanyaruchinya-camp-where-residents-displaced-by-war-try-to-survive//

[4] Elderly Covid Patients Fill Hospital Wards in China's Major Cities, Voice of America, December 2022, https://www.voanews.com/a/elderly-covid-patients-fill-hospital-wards-in-china-s-major-cities-/6888059.html

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