25.10.2018

Improved access to health care in East Congo

Improvements in the health system mean that more and more people can be treated rapidly and effectively in the South Kivu region.

Health is a valuable commodity, especially for those who cannot afford medical treatment. What can you do when your own child becomes ill or your own survival is on the line?

Many people in South Kivu are faced with this very question. Infectious diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are widespread in this eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Contaminated water and malnutrition frequently cause serious cases of diarrhoea. There are also victims of sexual violence, who have to live with the physical and psychological consequences.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) commissioned the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to support the health sector in the province of South Kivu. The project is being implemented by the International Services business area.

Since 2015, the programme has succeeded in significantly improving medical care for the population, both in terms of infrastructure and supply of medication. Among other things, new hospitals and health centres have been built, existing establishments refurbished and their technical equipment upgraded. As a result, approximately 1.5 million local citizens now have access to medical care services. GIZ has significant experience in this area. Worldwide, it helped improve health care services for 120 million people between 2010 and 2015.

The programme in South Kivu works closely with the province’s Health Ministry and local charity organisations. They educate young people on health-related issues, such as sexually transmitted diseases and reproductive health. Service contracts have been concluded with seven hospitals in the region, with a bonus system providing incentives for employees to improve health care standards. A tariff system for medical services is also being introduced to ensure stable prices and make the services affordable.