Fifteen people, ranging in age from 60 to 80, died in February after contracting an unidentified disease in a western province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “This unidentified disease has been raging in the Kasongo-Lunda health zone for a month. Currently, we have recorded 15 deaths, all of them elderly, ”said Jean-Marie Peti-Peti, governor of Kwango province.
“The patient begins with headaches, then pain everywhere, fever, then respiratory complications”, before dying, he explained. “The provincial Minister of Health, the chief doctor of the Kasongo-Lunda health zone as well as epidemiologists from Kinshasa are hard at work. They have already taken samples to send to the INRB (National Institute for Biomedical Research) ”in order to identify this disease, added the governor.
Access to healthcare complicated for the population
Two epidemics, Covid-19 and Chikungunya, have been reported in this Angolan border city, located 250 km south-east of Kinshasa and lacking viable health infrastructure. Health workers in this city complain that they do not receive regular salaries.
Access to medical care is made difficult because of its high cost in relation to the standard of living of the population. It is estimated at more than 1.5 million inhabitants, mainly farmers with very low incomes.