Emergency programmes in Kasaï, Sud-Kivu and Nord-Kivu provinces and later Orientale. Programmes closed in 1998.
Democratic republic of the Congo
© Luc Valigny
people in need of humanitarian assistance in the DRC
internally displaced people
refugees and asylum seekers
Médecins du Monde’s emergency response includes a range of humanitarian assistance programmes. Find out more below about our work and missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
THE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
In 2021, the political situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was marked by tensions within the governmental coalition, leading to a political reconfiguration with consequences for government at national level. At the same time, the DRC continues to face conflict and chronic humanitarian crises resulting from the lack of security and the actions of armed groups and militias. It is also subject to hazardous natural phenomena, in particular volcanic activity (Mount Nyiragongo, near Goma, erupted in May 2021), as well as flooding and bad weather during the rainy season. The Covid-19 pandemic also had a severe impact on the local economy and on communities’ access to basic goods and services.
While the situation in the Kasaï provinces has remained relatively stable, conditions in the provinces in the east of the country are alarming, especially in Ituri and Nord-Kivu (under siege since May 2021) and also Sud-Kivu, Maniema and Tanganyika. The numbers of civilians killed and cases of human rights violations here rose sharply compared to 2020. Levels of gender-based violence also rose by 73% from one year to the next.
NEED FOR HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN THE DRC
MALNUTRITION AND INSECURITY
Insecurity, together with the economic and social crisis, have increased the need for humanitarian assistance. The food crisis is affecting 27 million people and 4.2 million people are suffering from acute malnutrition. The need for protection is also extremely concerning, with 49,661 cases of human rights violations, the majority of them against returnees and displaced people.
The province of Tanganyika, in south-eastern DRC, has seen a resurgence of intercommunal violence since 2016 and the humanitarian situation is very worrying, with constant mass movements of people. In 2020, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) recorded over 272,987 internally displaced people and 367,709 returnees.
SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
In Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC, just 20.9% of women use modern contraceptive methods and three in five pregnancies are unintended, with the majority being terminated by women resorting to unsafe abortions.
Mobilising resources remains critical – the Humanitarian Response Plan in 2021 only raised 44% of the necessary funding.
© Olivier Papegnies
MDM’S HUMANITARIAN WORK IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
Our humanitarian work in the DRC focuses on a number of areas. Young people and women are the groups most at risk and are at the heart of our medical assistance plan in the DRC.
A HUMANITARIAN EMERGENCY PROGRAMME IN TANGANYIKA PROVINCE
Since June 2019, Médecins du Monde has been running a humanitarian project in Tanganyika province, specifically in Kalemie in the south-east of the country.
TACKLING EPIDEMICS AND CRISES
In a challenging healthcare context, MdM’s work seeks to prevent an increase in mortality and morbidity. We provide access to good quality healthcare to communities affected by intercommunal conflict and to displaced people in eight health areas in the Nyemba health zone and two in the Nyunzu health zone.
The potential for epidemics and the volatile situation in the country means that the focus of the humanitarian programme is on tackling epidemics and crises.
In 2021, we:
- provided 143,277 consultations,
- treated 1,941 children for malnutrition,
- provided care to 467 survivors of gender-based violence,
- provided 7,145 women with modern methods of contraception.
COVID-19 RESPONSE IN KINSHASA
Kinshasa was the epicentre of the Covid-19 epidemic with around 80% of the cases and our teams provided a response through the health centres from the outset:
– increasing stocks of personal protective equipment and infection prevention and control supplies;
– raising awareness in the community through local radio;
– developing communication tools specific to Covid-19 in the DRC
After the epidemic had been present in the DRC for a few weeks, it became clear that those most affected were in the 26-55 age group, although 75% of deaths were among the over-50s. Studies revealed that those most at risk were people over the age of 50 and those with pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
In November 2020, in accordance with the national response strategy, Médecins du Monde launched a five-month pilot project to carry out early and proactive testing of vulnerable people at two health centres in the Selembao health zone (previously supported by MdM).
In 2021, we:
- identified and provided information to 12,763 vulnerable people (over 50s and/or with diabetes and/or high blood pressure),
- treated 2,865 people with diabetes or high blood pressure.
As the groups most exposed to the risks of a lack of awareness about sexuality, women and young people are at the heart of our medical assistance plan in the DRC.
MdM has been working in Kinshasa for over ten years on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and child protection programmes.
At the operational level, two new strategies were consolidated in Kinshasa in 2020: the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights Strategy (access to safe abortion and advocacy) and an advanced community-level intervention in schools. All the work was carried out with local NGO, Afia Mama, which is very active both at the community level and in terms of advocacy (human rights activism), particularly through the Coalition Contre les Grossesses Non Désirées which campaigns on prevention of unintended pregnancies.
The programme seeks to strengthen the provision of basic health services, using an approach tailored to the needs of young people, community engagement and advocacy. It aims to achieve legal access to family planning services and the effective application of the Maputo Protocol. This is an international agreement which guarantees the rights of women, including their right to participate in the political process, social and political equality with men, greater autonomy in making decisions about their health and an end to female genital mutilation.
Our approach is innovative, with its tactic of working in schools to ensure SRH services are adapted to the needs of young people in the school environment and a harm reduction strategy in relation to illegal abortion.
The aim is to reduce mortality associated with unsafe abortions.
- provided 4,759 consultations on sexual and reproductive health and rights,
- provided 245 abortion and post-abortion consultations,
- distributed 131,645 contraceptives,
- organised awareness-raising and information sessions on sexual and reproductive health and rights for 76,124 young people,
- trained 30 healthcare providers and 30 community workers in maternal and child health.
Beneficiaries in 2021.
Beneficiaries in 2021.
Programme for street children opened in Kinshasa.
Opening of a programme in the Lake Tanganyika region providing access to care and treatment for cholera. Programme concluded in 2011.
AIDS programme opened in Goma in Nord-Kivu province. Programme closed in 2015.
Mental health programme for survivors of gender-based violence opened in Nord-Kivu. Concluded in 2013.
Opening of a sexual and reproductive health programme specifically aimed at teenagers in Kinshasa.