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COVID-19, bubonic and meningitis in Democratic Republic of Congo: the confluence of three plagues at a challenging time
  1. Abdullahi Aborode1,
  2. Wireko Andrew Awuah2,
  3. Aashna Mehta3,
  4. Abdul-Rahman Toufik2,
  5. Shahzaib Ahmad4,
  6. Anna Chiara Corriero5,
  7. Ana Carla dos Santos Costa6,
  8. Esther Patience Nansubuga7,
  9. Elif Gecer5,
  10. Katerina Namaal Bel-Nono8,
  11. Aymar Akilimali9,
  12. Christian Inya Oko10,
  13. Yves Miel H Zuñiga11
  1. 1 University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Kwara, Nigeria
  2. 2 Medical Institute, Sumy State University, Sumy, Ukraine
  3. 3 Faculty of Medicine, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary
  4. 4 Faculty of Medicine, King Edward Medical University, Lahore, Pakistan
  5. 5 School of Medicine, Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, UK
  6. 6 Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil
  7. 7 School of Medicine, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  8. 8 Medical Institute, Sumy State University, Sumy, Sums'ka, Ukraine
  9. 9 Faculty of Medicine, Official University of Bakavu, South Kivu, Congo (the Democratic Republic of the)
  10. 10 Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  11. 11 University of the Philippines Manila, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
  1. Correspondence to Wireko Andrew Awuah, Sumy State University, Sumy 40000, Ukraine; andyvans36{at}yahoo.com

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Introduction

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) witnessed the foremost case of COVID-19 on 10 March 2020. The caseload further increased, with 10 630 points recorded and 272 deaths as of 28 September 2020.1 The number of novel cases of COVID-19 is constantly upsurging with a test positivity rate of 21%.1 The latest update as of 13 March 2022 disclosed 86 315 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with over 34 000 active patients and 1335 deaths.2 DRC COVID-19 vaccination rate is also low, as only 110 634 out of the 1 054 720 COVID-19 vaccination doses received as of 22 September 2021 were deployed. This accounts for just 0.03% of the entire population being fully vaccinated since April 2021, when the country began its vaccination.3

Various exacerbating factors contributing to a poor healthcare system in DRC include conflict, healthcare resource constraint and exhaustion, poor infrastructure, insufficient logistical resources, limited testing centres, lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and conflicting interests of the stakeholders. All these factors contribute to the frailty of the healthcare system in DRC. Part of the DRC’s challenges from a healthcare point of view can be attributed to the poor road network and insufficient logistical resources.4 These include bottlenecks in the transportation of samples from remote areas to the National Institute of Biomedical Research, the preliminary testing laboratory of the country located in Kinshasa.1 Another pressing challenge to DRC is the inadequacy of the number of healthcare workers with a ratio of 0.28 physicians per 10 000 population, which is considerably lower than the requisite target of 22.8 professional healthcare workers per 10 000.1

The healthcare system capacity of the DRC also struggles to mitigate the impact of the ongoing pandemic due to war and the limited number of testing centres (ie, present only in the …

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Footnotes

  • Contributors All authors substantially contributed to the preparation of this article. All authors revised and approved the final draft.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.