Bukava, August 2, 2021 – For the people of the highlands of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, life has been difficult for a long time. Since 2015, relations between the two communities have deteriorated significantly. Exacerbating factors include the struggle for control of economic resources, the search for grazing land, alliances with foreign militias operating in the area, or the weak presence of government officials.

Residents are often victims of human rights abuses and severe displacement as a result of clashes between different armed groups. Sexual violence against women and men is often used as a tool on all sides in conflict. Hundreds of homes and several primary schools have recently been burned, and health facilities have been looted. Cholera and measles epidemics, and the COVID-19 epidemic further disrupted food systems, reduced income, access to health care, and increased food prices, causing severe malnutrition for children under five and pregnant or lactating women.

To make matters worse, this South Kiv region is so remote that it can only be reached on foot or by helicopter, making any human response even more difficult.

Health and Nutrition Response

To meet these needs, PINs provided assistance in the highlands of Uvira in 2018 and 2019, and in June 2020, the European Union (EU) launched an initiative to support the European Union’s humanitarian efforts, including PIN and World Belgium doctors. As part of this intervention, Pin and MDM-BA provide life-saving medicine, high-nutritional supplements to treat malnutrition, health care supplies and medical equipment in the highlands of Uvira. One of the Union’s main priorities is to provide direct medical care to survivors and internally displaced persons. To combat malnutrition, UNICEF DC PlumpyNut donates diet supplements.

With EU funding, we have been able to maintain access to health and nutrition services in conflict-affected areas, especially for pregnant women or victims of sexual violence. Says Gilbert Buick, director of the Democratic Republic of Congo. In this context, the human response is particularly important and it is important to be defensive and advocating with local authorities and communities.

“We live in safety,” said Augustine Bashombana, head of Massango Health Center. A few years ago we had no help from humanitarian organizations and our health center closed the door to lack of assistance and isolation. These people have returned to traditional medicine with all the associated consequences.

Linn The arrival of Pin in 2018 has allowed us to resume free health care for patients, and our center has been provided with essential medicines throughout the project. Since August 2020, Pin has been working with MDMB to provide full support in health and nutrition, with a particular focus on victims of sexual violence. She explains.

Training health workers to help their communities

Pin and MDM-B currently support four health centers, 15 of which have received specialized training on how to identify and address malnutrition, as well as proper water, sanitation, nutrition and the role of good nutrition. For infants and young children, including emergencies.

Jean-Baptiste Babone, Pin DC Project Manager, says: “The health workers are involved in family planning, emergency maternal and child care, postpartum care, medical, psychological and legal care for victims of sexual and sexual abuse, and many other health and nutritional problems. They are now able to help local communities effectively. ” *

In addition, 20 community outreach from 2 health areas have been trained in infant and infant nutrition, malnutrition screening, transmission of the most common symptoms as part of community-based follow-up and basic treatment. They also teach women with children under the age of five why good water, hygiene practices are important for nutrition and how to combine protection with nutrition.

“As a result, 12,637 people, including 4,584 men and 8,053 women, have been sensitized on topics related to malnutrition. Community health workers screened about 9,486 babies between six and 59 months of age, more than 383 pregnant and lactating women, ”said Babone. In addition, 173 fathers and 593 mothers are now able to quickly identify at-risk infants by identifying the medial upper arm and feeding tumors.

Support for the most vulnerable

Since the beginning of the project, 17514 people, including 555 men and 720 girls, as well as 75 pregnant and lactating women, have consulted with 1,575 children suffering from acute malnutrition in health centers aged 5-59 months. Babone says “Most patients come with malaria, diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, and severely malnourished children under the age of five. More than 1,399 babies have been vaccinated before their first birthday.

In addition, since 2020, more than 2,776 pregnant women have participated in at least one prenatal counseling session, assisted by qualified health workers to deliver about 853 births. As part of the project, 86 victims of sexual and sexual abuse received assistance within 72 hours, and an additional 209 survivors received appropriate response within three days. A total of 209 post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) kits for HIV infection have been distributed to victims of sexual violence.

Pin and MDM work is not yet complete. We will continue to work in the region and, in addition to providing EU-funded services, will focus on advancing humanitarian principles and respecting international humanitarian law for all parties to the conflict.

People in Need (PIN)

Pin has been working in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2008 and has been helping hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Congolese access to education, health care and other basic services. Thanks to the local team and close cooperation with local partners, the organization has been providing PIN support in areas of South Kiev and Manima districts where acute malnutrition is prevalent among children and mothers. As a result, 2,500 Congolese children are cured of malnutrition each year, and tens of thousands of people are trained to prevent the high mortality rate caused by extreme poverty.

Doctors of the World (MdM-BE):

MdM-BE has been in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2002 and has been fighting for access to health care for the most vulnerable. These projects focus on primary and secondary health care, and for people displaced by sexual and reproductive health, primarily sexual and gender-based violence.

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

European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO):

The European Union and its member states are the world’s largest donors. Aid is a statement of European cooperation for people in need around the world. Its purpose is to save, prevent, and alleviate human suffering and to protect the integrity and dignity of people affected by natural disasters and man-made disasters. The European Union (EU) is assisting millions of victims of conflict in the Civil Protection and Humanitarian Operations Unit. And accidents every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a network of international field offices, the European Union provides assistance to the most vulnerable in need of humanitarian assistance.

Please contact us for more information

Martin Cote, MdM-BE General Coordinator, cg.congo@medecinsdumonde.be

Dr. Vinkerker Luxembo, Medical Coordinator, comed.rdc@medecinsdumonde.be

Luchi Chubnova, Pin Desk Officer for the Democratic Republic Conference, Luci.chlubnova@peopleinneed.cz

Gilbert Buick, Director of the Democratic Republic of Pinnacle, Gilbert. Bouic@peopleinneed.cz

Matthias Ic, Regional Information Officer, EU ECHO, Mathias.Eick@echofield.eu