Democratic Republic of the Congo: Our Impact

 {Photo credit: MSH}Marie Miambokila Mumba and her newborn twins at the Luiza General Referral Hospital in Kasaï Occidental, DRC.Photo credit: MSH

Marie Miambokila Mumba, 38, had a smooth pregnancy and attended all of her scheduled prenatal consultations at the Luiza Tutante Health Center, located in Kasaï Oriental province in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). When Mumba was ready to give birth at the Luiza General Referral Hospital in August 2014, her baby was delivered safely by skilled birth attendant Judith Kambuyi.

 {Photo credit: Amélie Sow-Dia/MSH}Fortunée Kabeya and her newborn baby at the Muaka Health Center in Mwene Ditu, August 2014.Photo credit: Amélie Sow-Dia/MSH

It is 1 p.m. in Mwene Ditu, a crossroads town in the province of Kasaï Oriental, the nexus of diamond mining in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Fortunée Kabeya* has just given birth at the Muaka health center. Céline Bukasa, the head nurse, assisted Fortunée’s delivery, and mother and baby are doing well.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman, DRC.}Photo credit: Warren Zelman, DRC.

A project of the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) administered by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Supply Chain Management System (SCMS) is led by the non-profit Partnership for Supply Chain Management (PFSCM)—a partnership of John Snow, Inc. (JSI), and Management Sciences for Health (MSH). The Supply Chain Management System (SCMS) established a local field office in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in early 2013. As one of the most recent additions to the SCMS global portfolio of countries, the local staff of five has sought to scale up and produce results extremely quickly. SCMS’ primary mandate in the DRC is to supply the HIV commodities needed by six PEPFAR implementing partners that are spread across four of the DRC’s eleven provinces. These six implementing partners provide care to some of the most at-need populations within the DRC. They have set ambitious treatment targets and depend on SCMS to deliver the commodities that will allow them to meet those needs. The commodities supplied by SCMS range from antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to antibiotics needed to treat opportunistic infections, lab equipment, supplies and test kits. This year, 22,514 Congolese people will receive treatment with ARVs supplied by SCMS.

 {Photo credit: MSH staff.}A lab technician in the DRC’s Kasaï Oriental Province who received training on HIV-TB co-infection.Photo credit: MSH staff.

People living with HIV or tuberculosis (TB) face many health challenges, but when infected with both of these diseases, their struggles multiply, because each disease accelerates the other’s progression. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is ranked eighth among countries reporting the highest rates of HIV/TB co-infection. To manage the burden of care at such a level, countries must have well-trained staff in a health system that takes an integrated approach to care and treatment.

 {Photo credit: MSH}Thérèse Ashingo proudly shows off her healthy son after two months of exclusive breastfeeding.Photo credit: MSH

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, child malnutrition is a leading cause of infant and child mortality. In the Kole health zone in Kasaï Oriental province, 23 children were diagnosed with severe malnutrition between February and April 2013, with two infants under six months old dying from the condition. Community health workers have recently made strides in addressing this issue, with the support of the USAID-funded Integrated Health Project (DRC-IHP), led by Management Sciences for Health with partners the International Rescue Committee and Overseas Strategic Consulting.

 {Photo credit: MSH}Solar panels being installed at the Mukanga General Reference Hospital.Photo credit: MSH

Surgical lamps. Ultrasound machines. Autoclaves. These are essential pieces of equipment in any hospital, and they all run on electricity. In the remote areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo, electricity is a rare commodity. In Mukanga, a rural health zone in Katanga Province, the lack of electrical power was putting sick people at greater risk of death, says Dr. Kasongo Nkulu, Medical Director of Mukanga General Reference Hospital.

Justine during a home visit with a father and his son. {Photo credit: MSH}

Justine Mbombo, age 38, lives in a small village called Beya in Kasaï Occidental Province in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with a population of roughly 520 people. There are more than 100 children under age 5 in Justine’s village, and no doctor. Watching children suffer has affected Justine deeply and moved her to become more involved in the health of her community.“In January 2010, we were affected by a measles epidemic that caused the deaths of many children under age 5.

 {Photo credit: Overseas Strategic Consulting.}Frank Baraka (left) sews a bed net to use as a fishing net.Photo credit: Overseas Strategic Consulting.

It is 1 p.m. in the village of Kavimvira. The sun is high over Lake Tanganyika, at the foot of the Mitumba Mountain, in scenic Sud Kivu. Frank Baraka has packed the bounty of the morning fishing trip and folded his nets, when his cell phone chimes to signal an incoming text message: “Sleep every night under an Insecticide-Treated Net (ITN), to protect your family from malaria,” he reads out loud, amused, to his fishing companion. 

The Management Sciences for Health (MSH) global team of over 2,300 people from more than 70 nations is commemorating World AIDS Day 2012 in over 30 country offices around the world, including Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Afghanistan, Ethiopia, South Africa, Uganda, Haiti, and the United States.On World AIDS Day, MSH Nigeria, in collaboration with the Discovery Channel Global Education Partnership, Chevron, and Access Bank Plc, will be hosting a launch of the award-winning film titled “INSIDE STORY: The Science of HIV/AIDS” in Lagos, Nigeria.

Dr. Eliud Wandwalo. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

MSH works with international, national, and local partners to strengthen the capacity of health systems, national tuberculosis (TB) programs, and health managers to improve the lives of those affected by TB and prevent the spread of the disease. MSH participates in several global TB initiatives, including USAID’s Tuberculosis CARE I Program (following the TB CAP program); the STOP TB Partnership; and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

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