The Democratic Republic of the Congo
We partner with national and local organizations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) so that women, children, and communities—including those who live in the most fragile settings—can access the health care they need.
MOMENTUM works closely with the DRC’s government and national and local organizations to transform health care in 10 provinces across the country. We aim to make it easier for women, children, and families to access high-quality maternal, newborn, and child health, voluntary family planning, and reproductive health services in the private and public health sectors.
Strengthening Health Resilience and Fighting Infectious Diseases in Fragile Settings
Conflict, Ebola outbreaks, and the COVID-19 pandemic have made DRC’s North Kivu province a fragile environment. In collaboration with local partners, MOMENTUM Integrated Health Resilience builds on USAID-funded Ebola response efforts to improve and restore health services in the province. We help build and enhance the capacity of health systems in North Kivu to reach key populations and address some of the root causes of poor health and fragility. MOMENTUM also facilitates collaboration between the development health sector and humanitarian aid organizations operating in North Kivu to strengthen community health services.
One of DRC’s chronic health challenges is its high rate of tuberculosis: 270,000 people in DRC fell ill with the disease in 2018.1 In North Kivu, the exact rate of tuberculosis is unknown, but it is likely even higher than the national rate due to its fragile context.9 MOMENTUM Integrated Health Resilience works closely with partners in North Kivu to develop and implement a tuberculosis program that supports screening, rapid testing, treatment, and counseling at local health facilities.
Learn more about MOMENTUM’s approach to building health resilience.
Tailored Solutions for Family Planning and Reproductive Health
MOMENTUM Integrated Health Resilience works with local organizations and leaders in North Kivu to adapt family planning interventions and messages to minimize barriers to local service delivery often rooted in harmful gender norms. At health facilities, we help increase providers’ knowledge and skills and encourage their understanding of a broader range of contraceptive methods, especially long-acting reversible contraceptives. We also work with providers to help them provide high-quality counseling, address biases, and promote adolescent-responsive care.
In the DRC, 43 percent of children are too short for their age, also called “stunting,” and 23 percent are underweight for their age—both of which are signs of malnutrition.2 To fight malnutrition, MOMENTUM Integrated Health Resilience works with partners in North Kivu to integrate family planning and nutrition services with tuberculosis control and reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health services in targeted zones throughout the province. We collaborate with public and private health facilities to strengthen their readiness to provide high-quality, people-centered, integrated services.
MOMENTUM Safe Surgery in Family Planning and Obstetrics helps provide respectful, holistic maternity care, including safe surgeries, in the DRC. As part of this work, we collaborate with our partners to reach adolescents, youth, and post-partum and post-abortion women in Kinshasa with long-acting reversible contraception and permanent methods of contraception and integrate family planning into fistula prevention activities. Additionally, we partner with providers in North Kivu, South Kivu, and Ituri provinces to strengthen their ability to provide counseling and family planning methods that work best for each of their clients. We also partner with local organizations and health providers to increase the availability of and access to a broad range of contraceptive methods.
Check out this collection of 20 essential resources for family planning and reproductive health in fragile settings curated by MOMENTUM Integrated Health Resilience.
Improving Access to Quality Fistula Care and Obstetric Surgeries
MOMENTUM Safe Surgery in Family Planning and Obstetrics works with the Government of the DRC and several private hospitals in North and South Kivu, Kinshasa, Haut-Lomami, and Kasaï-Central to increase access to holistic care for obstetric fistula, a maternal injury that occurs when obstructed labor leaves a hole in the birth canal. We work with hospitals in Kinshasa, Goma, and Bukavu to help them repair fistula cases, continuing the work of USAID’s Fistula Care Plus program.
MOMENTUM Safe Surgery in Family Planning and Obstetrics also works with providers, provincial ministries of health, and local professional organizations to strengthen the capacity for surgical obstetric care so that women can access timely and high-quality care for cesarean deliveries and hysterectomies after birth.
Maintaining Access to Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Care in North Kivu
Conflict, Ebola outbreaks, and the COVID-19 pandemic have severely disrupted access to essential health services in North Kivu. MOMENTUM Integrated Health Resilience helps strengthen the capacity of the DRC’s health system to deliver maternal, newborn, and child health services, helping to sustainably transition the country away from humanitarian assistance. In North Kivu, MOMENTUM collaborates closely with the national and provincial Ministry of Health, international partners, and other United Nations- and USAID-funded projects, to establish mechanisms for community and health facility input to improve and strengthen community health services.
For example, we convene representatives from health facilities, community leaders, and non-governmental organizations to assess health priorities and trends and create action plans to address these needs. Community health workers that collaborate with MOMENTUM Integrated Health Resilience also conduct regular household visits to provide health messaging, identify health needs, and make referrals to local health facilities. MOMENTUM staff meet regularly with these community health workers to discuss their activities and reflect on lessons learned from their experiences. MOMENTUM bolsters partners’ efforts to improve primary health care messaging, referrals, and reporting through these meetings.
We also work with partners to provide a steady supply of quality medications and other health products for women, children, and communities in North Kivu.
Increasing Routine Immunization Coverage
The DRC is one of the most vulnerable countries to vaccine-preventable diseases; only 35 percent of children under age two are fully vaccinated against preventable childhood diseases.3 MOMENTUM Routine Immunization Transformation and Equity partners with the government to implement the Mashako Plan, which aims to increase immunization coverage nationwide by 15 percent. As part of our work, we collaborate with local organizations in Haut-Katanga, Kasaï-Central, Kasaï-Oriental, Kinshasa, Kongo Central, and Lualaba Provinces to address persistent barriers to equitable immunization coverage and identify high-potential interventions and strategies to overcome these barriers.
Read how we’re helping children access the vital vaccines they need.
Rolling Out COVID-19 Vaccines
MOMENTUM Routine Immunization Transformation and Equity assists the DRC in introducing COVID-19 vaccines to communities. We work closely with the DRC’s national immunization program and other partners to identify priority populations and design service delivery and communication strategies to reach them and encourage them to get the vaccine.
Learn how we partner with community leaders in the DRC who are activating their networks to encourage COVID-19 vaccination.
Determining the Cost of Private Health Care
The private sector is an integral part of the DRC’s health system, but little is known about the cost of private health care delivery.4 This information gap makes it challenging for leaders to make informed decisions about allocating resources within the health system. MOMENTUM Private Healthcare Delivery is conducting a study to understand the difference between costs in the private and public sectors, especially the cost of family planning services, in Kinshasa and its surrounding areas. This effort will guide publicly funded health programs on whether and how to work with private providers.
MOMENTUM Integrated Health Resilience: DRC Ministry of Health, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Soins de Santé Primaires en Milieu Rural (SANRU), Better Maternal and Child Health Results Project, Santé Plus, Forcier Consulting
MOMENTUM Safe Surgery in Family Planning and Obstetrics: EngenderHealth, Integrated Health Project, Breakthrough ACTION and RESEARCH, Panzi Hospital, Health Education Community Action Leadership (HEAL) Africa Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital, Programme National de Santé de la Reproduction de la RDC (DRC National Reproductive Health Program), Programme National de Santé des Adolescents de la RDC (DRC National Adolescent Health Program), Direction d’Enseignement des Sciences de Santé au Ministre de la Santé (Directorate of Nursing Schools at the Ministry of Health)
MOMENTUM Routine Immunization Transformation and Equity: DRC Ministry of Health, Expanded Program on Immunization (PEV), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Breakthrough ACTION and RESEARCH, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.K. Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Gavi, GRID3, Kinshasa School of Public Health (KSPH), Integrated Governance Activity (IGA), Integrated HIV/AIDS Project (IHAP), International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), Integrated Health Program (PROSANI), Premise Data, Pygma, SANRU, UNICEF, VillageReach, World Bank, WHO, World Relief
Interested in partnering with us or learning more about our work in the DRC? Contact us here or check out our regional reference brief.
Learn more about USAID’s work in the DRC.
- WHO. Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – Integrating tuberculosis screening into community-based HIV activities. July 2, 2020. https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/democratic-republic-of-the-congo-integrating-tuberculosis-screening-into-community-based-hiv-activities
- Ministère du Plan et Suivi de la Mise en œuvre de la Révolution de la Modernité (MPSMRM), Ministère de la Santé Publique (MSP) and ICF International, Enquêtes Démographiques et de Santé (EDS-RDC), 2013-14 (Rockville, MD: MPSMRM, MSP, and ICF, 2014).
- UNICEF. Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2018-2019. 2020. https://mics.unicef.org/surveys
- World Bank. “The Role of the Private Sector in Improving the Performance of the Health System in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” October 2018. https://documents.worldbank.org/en/publication/documents-reports/documentdetail/487571539958646859/the-role-of-the-private-sector-in-improving-the-performance-of-the-health-system-in-the-democratic-republic-of-congo
Last updated September 2022.