We respond to emergencies and assist people fleeing violence and armed conflict. In 2018, we responded to two Ebola outbreaks, in Equateur and North Kivu provinces respectively.
We run some of our largest programmes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), working in 17 of 26 provinces and responding to diseases outbreaks, conflict and displacement, and health problems such as HIV/AIDs.
People have little access to healthcare, and disease outbreaks are frequent due to poor surveillance and infrastructure. Violence has led to crises in the Kivus, Tanganyika and Kasai regions, and has forced millions to flee. Three of our staff, abducted in North Kivu in 2013, are still missing.
Our main areas of activity in DRC
MSF staff have responded to two separate outbreaks of Ebola in less than two years in DRC; the most recent – and still ongoing – outbreak has left over 3,000 people infected, and claimed over 2,000 lives. We are providing treatment to people with Ebola and supporting non-Ebola healthcare needs.
Armed conflict has triggered massive movements of people and their needs are immense. We provide emergency responses in the areas affected, notably currently in North and South Kivu, Kasai, Ituri and Tanganyika among others. We treat the wounded, cover basic health needs and adapt our services accordingly.
We support the national HIV/AIDS programme, 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. Awareness-raising through community-based activities is an important part of our projects.
According to official statistics in DRC, malaria causes four times more deaths per year than conflict, meningitis, cholera, measles and respiratory diseases combined. Children are the most severely affected. Most of our projects include malaria care. We also carry out emergency interventions to contain outbreaks.
DRC is prone to outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as measles, yellow fever and cholera. We run mobile teams, which can be quickly deployed in emergencies. Among our responses to outbreaks of communicable diseases are vaccination campaigns, case management (including surgeries), health promotion and water and sanitation activities. Ebola outbreaks are also recurrent in DRC, and we support local authorities in the response.
Many of our projects have an important component of women’s health. Sexual violence is also a major issue in DRC, affecting men and boys as well as women and girls. We provide medical and psychological support, organise family planning activities, antenatal and postnatal consultations, and treat patients for sexually transmitted diseases.
In 2017, we observed an increase in admissions for malnutrition in all our medical structures. This is due to violence-triggered displacement, a bad agricultural season, and less funding. We are treating malnutrition in North Kivu, South Kivu and Kasai provinces.