Democratic Republic of the Congo: Our Impact

{Photo Credit: MSH}A nurse in Manika prepares to conduct a group education session on antenatal care, as part of the awareness campaign that helped Brigitte access the care she needed.Photo Credit: MSH

A campaign to promote antenatal care becomes a lifeline for a teenager in need.

A technician tests a child for malaria at a health center in Kinshasa, DRC.Photo Credit: Aubrey Clark

The USAID-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program, led by MSH, recently published the results of its activities in eight countries (Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Guinea, Mali, and South Sudan) to control malaria.

 {Photo Credit: MSH Staff}Nurses from Nseke discuss collected data during their monthly monitoring meetingPhoto Credit: MSH Staff

In the vast, logistically challenging Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), health data are often incomplete, unreliable, or submitted too late to be of use to public health authorities. Health data for the Nseke health area (Kanzenze health zone) seemed at odds with what the health zone management team actually saw on monitoring and supervisory visits. On paper, it looked like the local health facilities were performing well. But community feedback and verification told a different story.

{Photo Credit: MSH Staff}Noëlla and her healthy newborn baby at the Kabindula health center.Photo Credit: MSH Staff

Noëlla Bitisho, 29, gave birth to her third child at the Kabindula Health Center in December 2015. As with her first two deliveries, this one was challenging, and it looked like there could be complications and possible hemorrhage. Maternal mortality remains high in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), at 846 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to the most recently completed Demographic and Health Survey. Hemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal death in the country.

 {Landry Serges-Malaba/MSH}Fallone and her daughter Gracia (right) with Therese, head nurse at Dipeta HospitalLandry Serges-Malaba/MSH

Fallone Ntumba, a radio journalist in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was 24 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to the Dipeta General Referral Hospital with a prematurely ruptured membrane. After three weeks in the hospital, Ntumba gave birth to a daughter. Baby Gracia weighed only three pounds, and Dipeta Hospital’s incubator had not worked in three years. Like many hospitals in DRC, they lacked the resources to replace or repair it when a part malfunctioned.

 {Photo Credit: Landry Serges-Malaba/MSH}Alain Kelende, mason and former TB patientPhoto Credit: Landry Serges-Malaba/MSH

Alain Kelende had been a mason his whole life, but for the past two years, he was exhausted every day and could not stop coughing, making it difficult to work. Kelende, 42, lives with his wife and two children in a peri-urban community of Kinshasa. Like many in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), he resisted going to a clinic. Instead, he self-medicated for worms and, he said, “kept coughing and growing weaker.”

{Photo: MSH staff}Photo: MSH staff

For the first time in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), 13 life-saving health commodities for mothers and children have been included in the National Health Development Plan (NHDP). These medicines are recommended by the United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children (UNCoLSC).

 {Photo credit: MSH}Justine Ngalula with her mother, Alphonsine, and baby brother Antoine. All three are eating better thanks to the nutrition information Justine learned in school.Photo credit: MSH

Twelve-year-old Justine Ngalula studies more than reading, writing, and arithmetic at her school in Nedekesha health zone. A community health worker trained by the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Integrated Health Program (IHPplus) has been educating teachers and students at Justine’s Catholic school on nutrition, emphasizing the importance of breastfeeding even though the students are young. Optimal breastfeeding, Justine learned, means starting immediately after birth, breastfeeding exclusively for six months, and continuing for  two years.

{Photo Credit: MSH Staff}Photo Credit: MSH Staff

Management Sciences for Health has been working closely in collaboration with the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) on the introduction of the new dispersible pediatric fixed-dose combination. Through MSH’s projects across identified high-burden countries, we have been providing assistance on updating treatment guidelines and essential medicines lists, registration of the reformulated product, financing and reprogramming grants, quantification, and training healthcare providers on the medicine and its use. 

 {Photo: MSH}Mushombe, one of the babies saved by an HBB-trained staff, with his happy mother in Lemera General Hospital.Photo: MSH

Baby Mushombe entered the world through natural delivery—and immediately struggled to breathe. Respiratory distress could have cost him his life, as it does many infants in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where over 118,000 newborns died in 2012, according to the World Health Organization. Fortunately for Mushombe, he was surrounded by a team of midwives and assistants who had mastered Helping Babies Breathe® (HBB)—a resuscitation technique developed for environments with limited resources.

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