Democratic Republic of Congo

OUR COVID-19 RESPONSE IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
 

Our concerns

MedicalInadequate access to healthcare
The second wave of COVID-19 is increasing the pressure on already scarce healthcare resources, including ICU beds. 

 

Our responses

MedicalSupporting health authorities
In response to the second wave, we started supporting the Cliniques Universitaires de Kinshasa (CUK)—the Kinshasa University clinics—to treat moderate and severe COVID-19 patients. 

MedicalProviding essentials
Our teams have donated materials such as masks and handwashing stations, while monitoring and being ready to support the response to any decline in the health situation.

MedicalCommunity education
Across all our projects in Democratic Republic of Congo, our teams are working on raising awareness about the outbreak and prevention measures, particularly with people living with a disability, orphans, and the elderly. 

MedicalSupporting vulnerable populations
MSF has started an intervention in the health zone of Nsele, a poor and remote area on the outskirts of Kinshasa, after the emergence of a new and virulent outbreak of COVID-19. 

Completed COVID-19 Responses

  • Community education project in Kinshasa: With the support of MSF, MSF supported more than half the municipalities of Kinshasa in COVID-19 education, sharing knowledge about the outbreak and prevention measures. By the conclusion of these activities in mid-December 2020, 1,600 vulnerable people had participated. 
  • MSF-run Baraka COVID-19 isolation centre: The centre has been handed over to the Ministry of Health for continued operation. Our teams also donated supplies to 21 health areas and are ready to support the response should the COVID-19 situation deteriorate. 

 

Will you support our COVID-19 response?

Médecins Sans Frontières is providing support and medical care around the world to counter the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re providing essential care through dedicated COVID-19 facilities, equipping frontline medical staff with PPE and training, and supporting health authorities through testing and community education.

With 50 years of experience fighting epidemics, we’re committed to protecting the most vulnerable and saving lives.

Can you help increase our capacity to respond by making a donation to our COVID-19 Crisis Appeal?

 

DONATE NOW

 

Since 1981 Médecins Sans Frontières has been running some of its largest programs in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where millions of people are displaced due to armed conflict and longstanding crises, as well as outbreaks of disease across the country.

The second largest country in Africa (after Algeria), DRC is rich in natural resources but plagued by conflict.

Until recently, the country has been at the centre of what some observers have called “Africa’s world war”: the five-year conflict saw government forces, supported by Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe, clash with rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda.

Despite a peace deal and the formation of a transitional government in 2003, people in the east of the country remain in fear of death, rape or displacement by marauding militias and the army.

Due to poor access to healthcare, the average life expectancy in DRC is around 58 years. One in 10 Congolese children dies before the age of five.

Response to Epidemics

DRC is prone to outbreaks of infectious diseases, including Ebola, and we support local authorities in the response. We run targeted vaccination campaigns against measles and malaria, and interventions against cholera, yellow fever, and tuberculosis.
 
Raising awareness through community-based activities is an integral part of our projects.  
 
MSF directly supports local health services and centres. We support the national HIV/AIDS program, which is implemented by the country's health authorities. Our teams work on improving access to screening and treatment, reinforcing treatment adherence, and patient retention. A community-based program manages the distribution of antiretroviral (ARV) medication to stabilised patients. 
Democratic Republic of Congo

The MSF sleeping sickness mobile team in northern Bandundu Province use dugout canoes (called pirogues) to access remote communities. © Meldrum / MSF

Sexual and Reproductive Health 

Sexual violence is a major issue in DRC, affecting men and boys as well as women and girls. We provide medical and psychological support. We also support family planning activities, provide antenatal and postnatal consultations, and treat patients for sexually transmitted diseases. 
 

Emergency and Mobile healthcare 

Emergency response is a core activity for MSF. Several teams are dedicated to monitoring health alerts and deploying a rapid response to outbreaks of violence, population displacement and epidemics across this vast country.
 
With the goal of guaranteeing adequate healthcare, MSF teams distribute relief kits, run mobile clinics, manage health promotion, and organise water and sanitation activities within communities and for displaced people.

MSF teams work in North and South Kivu, Kasai, Ituri and Tanganyika, among other areas. 

Speaking out Case Study

Rwandan Refugee Camps in Zaire and Tanzania 1994-1995

Following the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, nearly 2 million ethnic Hutus fled across the border into eastern DRC, as well as Tanzania and Burundi, where they settled in large refugee camps. Humanitarian access to the camps was severely limited, or outright denied; and refugees were subjected to targeted armed attacks by Rwandan and Burundian armies, as well as the AFDL (Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo) forces.

MSF tried to provide aid to both refugees and local populations caught in the fighting. These teams came face to face with the AFDL’s and the Rwandan army’s bloody methods, which included using humanitarian organisations as a lure to draw refugees out of hiding.

In the years since the atrocity, MSF released a detailed case study, highlighting the dilemmas that emerge from humanitarian involvement in conflict situations. The report outlines the decision for MSF staff to speak out.

Find out more about DRC

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