The Democratic Republic of Congo has launched a preventive yellow fever vaccination campaign targeting more than 16.3 million people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In a statement on Tuesday, WHO Africa office said the vaccination campaign is the first such drive against the disease in Africa in 2021.
“Tackling other health emergencies is now doubly difficult as countries are also working hard to contain the COVID-19 pandemic,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said.
“While yellow fever is a dangerous disease, it is easily preventable with one shot in the arm. This campaign illustrates that by adjusting to the new normal, working together and innovating we can avert other outbreaks and combat COVID-19.”
The WHO said it is providing technical and coordination support to the vaccination campaign, training vaccinators as well as providing real time monitoring tools, including data management and a post-campaign survey.
Luc Alungu, the provincial minister of health for Tshopo, one of the seven provinces where the vaccination is taking place, welcomed the drive.
“We applaud the launch of this preventive vaccination campaign, the mobilization by partner organizations as well as the population who have taken ownership of the vaccination drive and are part of the collective efforts to eliminate yellow fever in the country,” Alungu said.
Yellow fever is an epidemic-prone mosquito-borne disease that is transmitted to humans by the bites of infected mosquitoes.
It is a high-impact disease with risk of international spread, which represents a potential threat to global health security, according to the WHO.