EU-funded health and nutrition collaboration to support many conflicting parts of DR Congo

Life has been difficult for the people of the Uvira highlands of the eastern DR Congo for a long time. And since 2015, the relationships between two living communities have worsened significantly.

The factors include:

  • The search for pastureland.
  • Alliances with foreign in the weak presence of state authority armed groups are operating in the area.
  • The search for pastureland.

Due to ongoing clashes between various armed groups, residents are facing human rights violations and massive displacement. 

And by all sides in the conflict, sexual violence against women and men is traditionally used as a weapon.

Looting, hundred of houses burnt, chlorella endemic, Covid-19 pandemic food disruption, compounding all these issues, this area has become very remote. And it is accessible only on foot or by helicopter, making any humanitarian acknowledgment even more complex.

Health and nutrition response

Addressing these needs, People in Need (PIN) assisted in the Uvira highlands in 2018 and 2019, and in June 2020.

To support a consortium’s humanitarian activities, including Doctors of the World Belgium (MDM-BE) and PIN, the European Union began an initiative. As part of the arbitration, MdM-BE and PIN provide medical equipment and high-nutritional supplements to treat malnutrition and high-nutritional supplements to treat malnutrition and life-saving medicines. 

But one of the main focuses of the consortium is to provide direct medical assistance to sexual violence survivors and internally displaced people.

The in-charge nurse of the Masango health center, Augustin Bashombana, says that they live in insecurity. A few years ago, they had no help from humanitarian organizations, and their health center had denied assistance and the area’s isolation. This led people to return to conventional treatments, with all of the related outcomes.

Training health workers to help their communities

Four health centers are currently under the support of PIN and MdM-BE. And 15 health workers from these centers specialize in identifying and tackling malnutrition. 

According to the PIN DRC Project Manager, Jean Baptiste Babione, these health workers are also well trained in family planning. 

They also knew post-abortion care, medical, post-abortion care, medical, psychosocial, and legal care for sexual and gender-based violence victims. They are now able to adequately help the communities in the area.

Read more: DR Congo: Rise in covid cases of third wave and hesitation about vaccination

Support for the most vulnerable

Since the initial days of the project, almost 17,814 people have consultations in health centers supported by the project, with 1175 children aged 0-59 months suffering from severe acute malnutrition, including 555 boys and 720 girls and 75 pregnant and lactating women.

PIN and MDM job is far from over. Apart from providing services, the EU-funded consortium will promote humanitarian principles and respect International Humanitarian Law by all sides of the conflict.

People in Need (PIN)

The PIN is in work in DR Congo since 2008, helping hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable Congolese gain access to basic essential services like education, healthcare, etc. 

And all this is has been only possible due to its collaboration with local partners around. 

The PIN provides assistance in the remote areas, which are hard to access, including South Kivu and Maniema provinces. These are the areas where organization tackles the accurate malnutrition in children and mothers.

Many people around there are trained in disease prevention, which helps to reduce the high rates of child mortality caused by extreme poverty.

Doctors of the World (MdM-BE)

MdM-BE is working in the DR Congo since 2002 and fights for access to health care for the most helpless. 

These organizations mainly focus on sexual and reproductive health and primary and secondary health care. Mainly for sexual and gender-based violence survivors.

 MdM-BE works to build the capacity and strengthen health structures and local partners to improve the quality of care.

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