Democratic Republic of the Congo

Dr. Mukengeshayi Kupa now represents the DRC on the WHO executive board. He was born, grown, and schooled in the DRC, and he is currently the secretary general of the DRC's Ministry of Health. Until his selection to the WHO executive board, he served as the national coordinator of the National Onchocerciasis Control Programme, a long-running initiative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (IMA World Health). He has been involved in a variety of other endeavors, including the construction of a national health system for information and healthcare delivery.  He has worked in conjunction with a various organization such as the USAID to help better the lives of the people of DRC (IMA World Health). National Onchocerciasis Control Programme is a joint effort between the World Health Organization and other bodies, for instance, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank as well as Food and Agriculture Organization. Under the leadership of Dr. Kupa, this initiative has been able to reach more than 30 million affected persons in more than ten countries.

The DRC was once a country in which there was an adequate number of doctors, clinics, quality health physicians as well as a comprehensive health care structure. Over the past 30 years, the country has witnessed economic and political collapse leading to a deterioration of the health structure (Deibert 34). This country is ranked very low in the context of human development, and research shows that it also performs poorly in other regards such as human well-being, maternal and infant mortality. In the DRC, life expectancy has gone down over the years and currently, stands at 48 years. The general population consists of young people, and according to the 2012 census, the average age is about 17 years (Deibert 34). This information is a society based on no formal census has been conducted since the formation of this country. More that 70 percent of the population does not have access to nutrition; research indicates that four every four children, one is suffering from malnourishment. Some factors cause lack of food, and these include displacement of the population, inadequate access to social services, poor agricultural production, and poor infrastructural development as well as the presence of lingering poverty (Deibert 35). As of the years 2012, the leading cause of indisposition has been malaria, tuberculosis, HIV, respiratory diseases, parasitic infections as well as malnutrition.

Epidemics for a huge part of the life of the people of Congo and the most notable ones include cholera, measles, and meningitis. Those who are infected present show symptoms extremes as a result of the absence of programs such as vaccination, poor access to health care services and the presence of fee for service structures (Deibert 37). 2009 saw the outbreak of meningitis in the western section of DRC and the WHO declared an epidemic caused by the measles as recently as the year 2012. Also, there were about 3896 cholera incidences that led to the death of about 265 individuals. Other cases include those of helminths, including hookworms, askaris as well as trichurus. About 50 percent of the pediatric, as well as women within the child-bearing age, have tested positive for this helminths in a huge segment of central DRC. This infestation is believed to cause anemia, prolonged malnourishment, and diarrhea.

The health infrastructure in this country has encountered many challenges. In the past, this country had functioning health as well as a referral system. Currently, this country is grappling with a growing burden due to an increase in cases of communicable diseases. The countries expenditure on healthcare is the lowest in the region is thought to be about 2 percent of total GDP (Deibert 38). The recommended value, according to WHO, is $35 (per capita) to maintain a healthy population. Based on a recent assessment of the country’s needs, it was established that the DRC needs about $17.91 for each citizen every year to provide the much-needed health care structure. This requirement encompasses neonatal, material and health care for every child in the DRC; reproductive health, chronic and internal medical care for incidences such as TB infection, surgery, malaria as well as HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately, emergency services are not part of this deliberation.

This country suffers from a huge shortage of health professionals. For instance, no clear figures are detailing how many physicians there are in this country. However, health services are provided for by various groups including international organizations, national groups, institutions of learning as and religious groups (Fleck). The DRC is known for a district type health care system. Under this structure, health care begins at the lowest level, also known as centre-de-Sante locally. This health clinic is operated by various service providers who range from individuals who have no certification to practice to those with formal training such as nurses. Most of the health centers were rummaged during past resurgences and had not been rebuilt to date.

Emergency medical service is not yet available in the DRC. Institutions of higher learning do not offer bachelor or postgraduate level training in this field of medical care. Although there are clear guidelines set up by the world health organization, such as the Emergency Triage Assessment and Treatment with regards to patients who are acutely ill, DRC has not established national guidelines to enforce the requirements of the WHO (Mussanzi and was 55). Designations such as argentite and anesthesiste reanimateur are loosely used in this country by those who identify themselves health providers although individual training is not sufficient.

The biggest disadvantage that the people of DRC experience are a lack of information regarding all aspects of healthcare. This is worsened by the fact that DRC is huge country and this has created extensive dissimilarities between the various regions forming this country. This problem has warranted the intervention of international organizations such as the USAID. This organization currently provides health services in more than 1700 facilities located in 78 zones and serve more than one million people (Mussanzi and was 55).

The WHO is currently actively taking part in the provision of logistical and technical support to facilitate the delivery of health services the population by the health cluster consisting of the non-governmental organization as well as other partners. These groups have delivered medicine and other supplies, cleaned up sites where those who have been displaced by wars have sought refuge and have promoted collective hygiene (Mussanzi and wa 57). These efforts are geared towards providing an environment that is free from the risk of diseases such as TB and cholera.

The WHO is currently engaged in areas that are vast and insecure, particularly those that have a health system that is extremely stressed and in which members of the community are isolated, scattered or moving away from conflict-prone areas. Also, efforts are underway to enumerate and scrutinize what is taking place in this country. This has been a conscientious task for the last five years as a coherent response to an internal crisis.

One of the areas that the WHO is actively focused is the cholera epidemic, particularly to the north of Kivu. As of December of 2008, about 10000 individuals had been affected and of these 210 succumbed to the disease (Mussanzi and wa 58). This condition is brought in by that fleeing war and worsens in refugee camps due to straining of available resources, such as latrines. As a result, the WHO has been involved in the evaluation of threats as well as stresses that impact the peoples’ well-being. The WHO has established labs in Kivu for the purpose of monitoring the health of individuals ravaged by war and the spread of communicable diseases.

WHO has been at the forefront in gathering information that is vital for the determination of the kind of health care that is needed in the DRC, the necessary medicines to fight communicable diseases, appropriate vaccines and the level of funding that will provide the people of DRC with sustainable healthcare (Mussanzi and wa 60). This has not been an easy task for the WHO and the partners that are involved in restoring healthcare in the DRC, which includes IRC and MSF, believe it is not safe yet for them to carry out surveys on those who have been affected by war. As a result, it is not clear yet how much resources should come into the DRC in the form of international donor funding.

Over the course of the last ten years, WHO and other partners have carried out surveys of those who fled to other countries such as Uganda to generate a retrospective review of the mortality rate in the DRC.

Other than the WHO, IRA, and MSF, the USAID has been an active partner in the efforts to restore health care in the DRC. This organization has been actively involved in the DRC to promote American priorities and is one of the largest partners that the WHO has inside the DRC. It has established a center in various parts of Congo, and these include Kasai, Lomami, Sankuru, as well as Lualaba (Rajan et al. 51). The USAID provides immense support to more than 103 malarial health regions in these provinces and other in Kinshasa. Also, the USAID has a support system to combat the effects of HIV and AIDS, and these centers are focused on more than 21 zones in the greater Katanga and Kinshasa (Usaid.Gov). The programs run by the USAID are meant enhance Congo’s fragile system, and this support will go a long way to improve and sustain delivery of health services. The USAID also encourages good governance by supporting the ministry of health reforms that are continuously undertaken by the government of Congo to decentralize and streamline healthcare in the public domain. Also, this organization provides financial and technical support vital in the implementation and development, evaluation and monitoring of operations at all levels of the healthcare system.

The IMA has worked with the other partners and the government of Congo since the year 2000 in order to revamp the health care system in this country. This organization is part of the global team that diversifies the paradigm as well as the healthcare trajectory in Congo (Rajan et al. 52). This group, in conjunction with other, such as the UKAID, is making use of technology to resolve those issues that the people of DRC have had to grapple with for a long time (Coghlan 44). Last year, in conjunction with various other partners such as the SANRU, Caritas Congo ASBL, and world vision established support for five health regions in order to carry out WASH initiatives in hospitals and clinics (Rajan et al. 54). About 60000 individuals are now able to access safe and clean drinking water while a further 56852 have access to sanitary systems. With added support from AMF (Against Malaria Foundation), more than 2 million mosquito nets were distributed to help combat malaria (Coghlan 46). Many local health practitioners have been trained in aspects such as computing, data management as well as open data software systems. With this added knowledge, IMA hopes to equip local health practitioners with the necessary capacity to collect information on demographics relating to the prevalence of malaria net usage in various parts of Congo (IMA World Health). Technology is also used to share information on the effective ways of combating malaria in Congo.

As the new director of WHO comes in, this country has a lot of expectations. Although this country has made significant progress in its health care system, a lot remains to be done. For instance, the prevalence of Polio rates has gone down considerably in a country that lacks adequate necessities (Rajan et al. 55). However, the country is still grappling with high fertility rate. The DRC has a rate of about seven children for each mother, an outcome that is greater than the world’s average. The WHO organization has a lot to do given that the use of contraceptives has only gone up by 2 percent from 2007 to 2013 (Coghlan 47). About 39 % of all women who are able to bear children suffer from anemia. Despite efforts by the WHO and other partners, malnutrition is still high, and this has translated to about 43% of the children in this country being stunted.

More funding will be needed to fight malaria in the DRC as it has remained a huge problem in many parts of this country. DRC is experiencing many cases of malaria and is the second highest according to WHO statistics (Coghlan 48). This accounts for more than 11% of the world’s total as of the year 2013. Most of the deaths under the age of 5 are attributed to malaria. An estimated 40 % of all outpatient visits suffer from Malaria.

The World health organization needs find effective ways of working out how much resource is needed on the ground, including in war-stricken areas, to provide appropriate and efficient support to fight disease and food shortage. It has not been possible for the WHO and its partners to evaluate the health needs of this country since no efforts undertaken have not provided the extent to which the health sector in the DRC is affected (Coghlan 49). Other areas that need to be addressed include women and HIV. Although Congo is number 6 in a ranking of 22 nations, that make up for 80 % of all tuberculosis worldwide, HIV is lower in this country when compared to other nation I the sub-Sahara region. However, HIV cases are high in urbanized areas as well as amongst women (Stasse 78).

A developing country such as the DRC needs an early warning system in the health care system with an instantaneous data processing capacity in order to provide information, at a glance, of the health sector. Although there is such a system in the DRC, under the flagship of the WHO, it is not all-inclusive as it does not cover all regions in the DRC. A globalized system would provide the WHO and GDRC reliable information with which to implement effective health development strategies (Stasse 81).

There is need to encourage and expand access to education. Through education, the locals will have sufficient capacity to handle many of the issues they are facing. Unfortunately, at the moment, access to education is limited by war and insurgency (Coghlan 51). One approach that needs to be advocated for is the use of interactive instruction through social platforms such as radio. This would be an appropriate method through which the WHO could encourage proper health and healthy living.

The government has made efforts to allocate funds for the health sector. However, the funds are not sustainable, and this country is not able to meet the health needs of the entire country. The WHO will need to provide additional support to bridge the gap that is currently causing the current shortage of vital health service resources.

Works Cited

Coghlan, Benjamin, Richard J. Brennan, Pascal Ngoy, David Dofara, Brad Otto, Mark Clements, and Tony Stewart. "Mortality in the Democratic Republic of Congo: a Nationwide Survey." The Lancet. 367.9504 (2006): 44-51. Print.

Deibert, Michael. The Democratic Republic of Congo: between Hope and Despair. Zed Books, 2013. 34-38. Print.

Fleck, Fiona. "The Democratic Republic Of The Congo: Quantifying The Crisis." Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov, 2017,

IMA World Health."Creating A National Health Information System In DRC". IMA World Health, 2017,

IMA World Health. The Democratic Republic Of Congo. IMA World Health, 2017,

Mussanzi, wa M. K, and wa M. B. Mussanzi. "Democratic Republic of Congo: the Humanitarian Disaster Is Not Over: It Has Just Changed Its Face!" African Rennaissance. 4.2 (2007): 55-60. Print.

Rajan, Dheepa; Kalambay, Hyppolite; Mossoko, Mathias; Kwete, Dieudonné; Bulakali, Joseph; Lokonga, Jean-Pierre; Porignon, Denis; Schmets, Gerard. Health Service Planning Contributes to Policy Dialogue Around Strengthening District Health Systems: an Example from Dr Congo 2008–2013. BioMed Central Ltd, 2014. 51-55. Internet resource.

Stasse, S, D Vita, J Kimfuta, Silveira V. C. da, P Bossyns, and B Criel. "Improving Financial Access to Health Care in the Kisantu District in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Acting Upon Complexity." Global Health Action. 8.1 (2015). 78-81. Print.

Usaid.Gov. Global Health: The Democratic Republic of the Congo .U.S. Agency for International Development. Usaid.Gov, 2017,

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