Democratic Republic of the Congo: Our Impact

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.

Nurse Mpala Muhungu in Lubudi, with two children diagnosed with TB following the DRC-IHP training. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Nearly one in two cases of active tuberculosis (TB) went undetected in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2010, due to inadequate screening for the disease.

Residents of Kole Yango, DR Congo, contribute their masonry skills to build the new latrine. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

In the health zone of Kole, in Kasaï Oriental province, the population numbers approximately 84,000, and the zone’s 12 health facilities are frequently faced with sanitation issues. Hygiene was very poor at the health center in Kole Yango, where the public areas immediately surrounding the facility were used as an “open air bathroom” for washing and defecation, since there was no latrine for patients or their relatives.

In Kalenda, a Congolese woman diagnosed with tuberculosis takes her medication following the “Directly Observed Treatment, Short-Course” approach, also known as DOTS. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a leading cause of death in Democratic Republic of the Congo, in part, because of a lack of access to diagnosis and treatment for those suffering from the disease.

For many people in rural communities in the developing world, information about contraceptives comes from community-based distribution agents, locally-based individuals trained in family planning, who frequently face challenges that a local pharmacist doesn't: a skeptical group of potential consumers and geographical challenges -- including poor roads and a lack of public transportation -- often compounded by extreme weather.This situation was the reality for community-based distribution agents in the health zone of Ndekesha in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) announced a five-year, $200 million commitment to improve health systems and family planning services in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Haiti as part of the Every Woman, Every Child campaign of the United Nations (UN).

Involving Men Along With Women in Family Planning in the DRC. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Family planning services in developing countries often focus solely on women, neglecting the role of men in the family and proving ineffective in countries where women can't make decisions regarding their own health. In the rural Kamiji health zone of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), however, the USAID-funded Democratic Republic of Congo-Integrated Health Project (DRC-IHP), led by MSH, has begun an effort to increase the number of people using family planning that engages men as well as women.