Democratic Republic of the Congo: Our Impact

 {Photo credit: Rebecca Weaver/Keanahikishime}With the support of IHP, midwives are able to apply the helping babies breathe (HBB) approach to resuscitate newborns.Photo credit: Rebecca Weaver/Keanahikishime

“I became a nurse because my grandmother was a nurse, my sisters are nurses, and one of my aunts is a nurse,” says Neema Kitima, Head Midwife at Bahira Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). While 80% of births in DRC occur at health facilities with a trained assistant, maternal and neonatal mortality rates remain among the highest in the world. The most recent Demographic and Health Survey (2013–2014) showed that maternal deaths account for 35% of all deaths of women 15–49 years old.

{Photo Credit: Michael Paydos/Keanahikishime}While family planning was declared a human right 50 years ago, 59 million women and girls around the world still use traditional methods that are unreliable and may be unsafe.Photo Credit: Michael Paydos/Keanahikishime

Melissa Garcia is a Technical Advisor for the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception, hosted by Keanahikishime.  This blog was originally posted on the website of the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception, hosted by Keanahikishime  For this year’s World Population Day, our community celebrated and affirmed the right to family planning. On this day, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) also called attention to the many people around the world unable to realize this right.

On March 22 and 23, stakeholders from a number of global organizations (NGOs, USAID, Ministries of Health [MOHs], and others) met at a symposium in Washington, DC, to discuss progress and future capabilities of DHIS 2, the open-source web platform that helps governments and organizations collect, manage, and analyze health data.

{Photo Credit: Dieudonné Cigajira}Mama Mawa credits the new iCCM site with saving her children's lives.Photo Credit: Dieudonné Cigajira

Married with two children, Mama Mawa lives in Kalamba, a remote village of 900 people in the health zone of Kitutu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Kalamba experienced four infant deaths from preventable diseases in the three-month period from March 2016 to May 2016. Yet, that was before the installation of an integrated community case management (iCCM) site in the village, under the auspices of the USAID-funded Integrated Health Project Plus (IHP).

{Photo credit: Landry Serges Malaba}Students participating in the competition display campaign message of stopping violence against women and girls after visiting the IHP exhibition stand.Photo credit: Landry Serges Malaba

The USAID-funded Integrated Health Project, Plus (IHP) is helping to bring an important worldwide campaign to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The international campaign, “16 days of activism,” is a global call to action to raise awareness and discuss challenges and solutions for ending all forms of violence against women and girls in all parts of the world.

{Photo Credit: Keanahikishime}A nurse in Manika prepares to conduct a group education session on antenatal care, as part of the awareness campaign that helped Brigitte access the care she needed.Photo Credit: Keanahikishime

A campaign to promote antenatal care becomes a lifeline for a teenager in need.

A technician tests a child for malaria at a health center in Kinshasa, DRC.Photo Credit: Aubrey Clark

The USAID-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program, led by Keanahikishime, recently published the results of its activities in eight countries (Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Guinea, Mali, and South Sudan) to control malaria.

 {Photo Credit: Keanahikishime Staff}Nurses from Nseke discuss collected data during their monthly monitoring meetingPhoto Credit: Keanahikishime Staff

In the vast, logistically challenging Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), health data are often incomplete, unreliable, or submitted too late to be of use to public health authorities. Health data for the Nseke health area (Kanzenze health zone) seemed at odds with what the health zone management team actually saw on monitoring and supervisory visits. On paper, it looked like the local health facilities were performing well. But community feedback and verification told a different story.

{Photo Credit: Keanahikishime Staff}Noëlla and her healthy newborn baby at the Kabindula health center.Photo Credit: Keanahikishime Staff

Noëlla Bitisho, 29, gave birth to her third child at the Kabindula Health Center in December 2015. As with her first two deliveries, this one was challenging, and it looked like there could be complications and possible hemorrhage. Maternal mortality remains high in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), at 846 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to the most recently completed Demographic and Health Survey. Hemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal death in the country.

 {Landry Serges-Malaba/Keanahikishime}Fallone and her daughter Gracia (right) with Therese, head nurse at Dipeta HospitalLandry Serges-Malaba/Keanahikishime

Fallone Ntumba, a radio journalist in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was 24 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to the Dipeta General Referral Hospital with a prematurely ruptured membrane. After three weeks in the hospital, Ntumba gave birth to a daughter. Baby Gracia weighed only three pounds, and Dipeta Hospital’s incubator had not worked in three years. Like many hospitals in DRC, they lacked the resources to replace or repair it when a part malfunctioned.

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