Congo, Democratic Republic of

The Democratic Republic of the Congo adopted the strategy of using, at the community level, a dose of rectal artesunate as a pre-referral treatment for severe malaria amongst children under 5 years who could not quickly reach a health care facility and take oral medication. However, the adherence to referral advice after the integration of this strategy and the acceptability of the strategy were unknown. To assess adherence by the mothers/caretakers of children under 5 years to referral advice provided by the community health workers after pre-referral treatment of severe malaria with rectal artesunate, the authors conducted a noninferiority community trial with a pre- and post-intervention design in 63 (pre-intervention) and 51 (post-intervention) community care sites in 4 provinces (Kasaï-Oriental, Kasaï-Central, Lomami, Lualaba) from August 2014 through June 2016. The integration of pre-referral rectal artesunate for severe malaria into the community care site in the DR Congo is feasible and acceptable. It positively affected adherence to referral advice. However, more health education is needed for parents of children under 5 years and community health workers.

Factors in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that lead to excess mortality and poor maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) include poor nutrition, lack of adequate services for antenatal (ANC) and postnatal care (PNC), poor immunization coverage for women and children, elevated rated of malaria and low treatment rates, inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene, and increased rates of gender based violence. This study analyzed the impact of a modified Champion Community Approach (CCA) implemented in DRC on MNCH indicators. Between 2012 and 2017, 73 Champion Communities were developed. Among health areas with Champion Communities compared with health areas with no champion community, there were statistically significant increases in health area indicator rates in antenatal care (48%), early and exclusive breastfeeding (77%), family planning (55%), assisted birth (50%) and decreased moderate malnutrition rates (44%). The modified CCA implemented in DRC was an innovative community mobilization approach that fostered and institutionalized community leadership. Income generation and NGO status were unique and transformative steps that led to independence, autonomy and sustainability of the approach and were associated with improved MNCH indicators through behavior change.

Despite the commitment of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to expand the family planning method mix and increase access to services, awareness of emergency contraception is low among women, and the method remains underused and poorly integrated in family planning programming. Data from 15 focus group discussions conducted in 2016 among women aged 15–35 were used to examine awareness and perceptions of, and attitudes toward, emergency contraceptives. Emergency contraceptive pills have the potential to address gaps in the family planning method mix in the DRC. Assessing whether women have incomplete or erroneous information about family planning methods can provide better understanding of women's contraceptive choices in low-income countries.

The objective of this study is to explore selected pharmacies' readiness to serve women seeking emergency contraception (EC). This study used a mystery client (MC) methodology to visit 73 pharmacies in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Findings indicate that more than two-thirds of EC providers were knowledgeable about EC dosage, timeframe, and side effects, and 90% were deemed helpful towards novice EC users. Rare but glaring misconceptions about EC timeframe (20% of providers) and long-term side effects (4% of providers), as well as frequent stock-out (22%) and cost issues highlight priorities for programmatic improvements. As new service delivery strategies are explored to complement the uneven network of health structures in DRC, this study suggests that, given proper training and integration in FP programming, private-sector pharmacies have the potential to meet specific contraceptive needs for women living in Kinshasa.

Sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis [HAT]) is a neglected tropical disease with limited treatment options that currently require parenteral administration. In previous studies, orally administered pafuramidine was well tolerated in healthy patients (for up to 21 days) and stage 1 HAT patients (for up to 10 days), and demonstrated efficacy comparable to pentamidine. This was a Phase 3, multi-center, randomized, open-label, parallel-group, active control study where 273 male and female patients with first stage Trypanosoma brucei gambiense HAT were treated at six sites: one trypanosomiasis reference center in Angola, one hospital in South Sudan, and four hospitals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo between August 2005 and September 2009 to support the registration of pafuramidine for treatment of first stage HAT in collaboration with the United States Food and Drug Administration. The overall cure rate at 12 months was 89% in the pafuramidine group and 95% in the pentamidine group; pafuramidine was non-inferior to pentamidine as the upper bound of the 95% confidence interval did not exceed 15%. The safety profile of pafuramidine was superior to pentamidine; however, 3 patients in the pafuramidine group had glomerulonephritis or nephropathy approximately 8 weeks post-treatment. Two of these events were judged as possibly related to pafuramidine. Despite good tolerability observed in preceding studies, the development program for pafuramidine was discontinued due to delayed post-treatment toxicity.

Integrated community case management (iCCM) can be an effective strategy for expanding the provision of diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria services to children under 5 years old but there are concerns in some countries about the corresponding cost and impact. This paper presents and compares findings from a multi–country analysis of iCCM program costs. Data were collected on iCCM programs in seven sub–Saharan African countries: Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Zambia. The data were used to compare some elements of program performance as well as costs per capita and costs per service (which are key indicators of resource allocation and efficiency). A comprehensive understanding of iCCM program costs and results can help countries obtain resources and use them efficiently. To be cost–effective and affordable, iCCM programs must be well utilized, while program management and supervision should be organized to minimize costs and ensure quality of care. iCCM programs will not always be low–cost, however, particularly in small, remote villages where supervision and supply challenges are greater.

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