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Opinion: As Americans shun the measles vaccine, the residents of Idjwi are dying to get it

From my home in Idjwi, an island in Lake Kivu between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda with a population of 300,000, I’ve been watching the U.S. measles outbreak with a mixture of astonishment and incredulity.

The U.S. outbreak, with nearly 1,000 reported cases so far, is due in large part due to parents who have not vaccinated their children against this highly contagious disease. In Idjwi, many parents would give anything for their children to receive a measles vaccination, because they know all too well what can happen to unvaccinated children.

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