Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Blog post
    Un dirigeant confessionnel démontrant son soutien à la planification familiale lors de l'ICFP 2018.

    Un dirigeant confessionnel démontrant son soutien à la planification familiale lors de l'ICFP 2018. Photo: Kathy Erb

    «Si vos parents avaient eu recours à la planification familiale, vous ne seriez pas ici», a déclaré un responsable gouvernemental à Mme Séraphine Lugwarna Nzigire lorsqu'elle est allée promouvoir les services de planification familiale afin de réduire le taux élevé de décès maternels dans son district en République démocratique du Congo (RDC). Elle n'a pas été dissuadée. Elle lui a dit qu'elle ne partirait pas avant d'avoir expliqué ce qui se passait dans sa communauté pour qu'il comprenne le besoin. Mme Nzigire est membre du Bureau diocésain des œuvres médicales (BDOM), une organisation catholique qui place le bien-être de la population au centre de ses travaux, un trait essentiel pour le succès de la promotion en faveur de la planification familiale de BDOM.

  • Blog post
    A faith leader demonstrating his support for family planning at ICFP 2018.

    A faith leader demonstrating his support for family planning at ICFP 2018. Photo: Kathy Erb

    “If your parents used family planning you would not be here,” a government official said to Mrs. Séraphine Lugwarna Nzigire when she went to advocate for family planning services to reduce the high rate of maternal deaths in her district in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). She was not deterred. She told him she was not leaving until she explained what was happening in her community so he would understand the need. Mrs. Nzigire is with Bureau Diocesain des Oeuvres Medicale (BDOM), a Catholic organization that puts the wellbeing of the people at the center of its work, a trait that has been crucial to BDOM’s family planning advocacy success.

  • Blog post
    Marie Musifu: It's me who decides

    "It's me who decides."

    This post was originally published by Pathfinder International.

    People often tell me I am very ambitious. I’ll admit it. It is true.

    Since I was nine years old, I have been telling my father that I will be the first woman president of my country. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is vast — almost the size of an entire continent. And if I were president, I would be able to change so many things for youth, with just my signature.

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    Congolese refugee women in Rwamwanja, Uganda. © EU/ECHO/Martin Karimi, 2017

    Congolese refugee women in Rwamwanja, Uganda. © EU/ECHO/Martin Karimi, 2017

    Girls and women faced a horrendous situation in Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement in western Uganda. I had only two choices to react to their poignant situation: Weep with them and we all become miserable, or take up their case and work to see something done.

  • Blog post
    A woman from the DRC.

    The DRC needs a family planning program that works for all women. Photo: PATH/Georgina Goodwin

    In November 2016, PATH partnered with the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Ministry of Health to hold a three-day workshop in Kinshasa that brought together the public, commercial, and private nonprofit sectors to advance a total market approach to family planning. A total market approach is a process that combines the strengths of all marketplace sectors to ensure that women get the supplies and services they need, through the right channels, and at the right price. In the DRC, aligning marketplace sectors can help to solve the inequities in our current system—where many poor women can’t access or afford family planning services. This lack of access contributes in part to the DRC’s high rates of maternal mortality and unmet need for contraception.

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    Jane Bertrand, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Global Health Systems and Development at Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and Philip Anglewicz, PhD, Assistant professor at the Department of Global Health Systems and Development at Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, contributed to this post.

    Findings from the first round of the Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2013 (PMA2013) survey carried out in Kinshasa, capital of Democratic Republic of Congo (PDF), show modest gains in key family planning indicators. Since the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) in 2007, the modern contraceptive prevalence rate among married women in Kinshasa has increased from 14.1 to 18.2% in 2013.

    The leading modern method among currently married contraceptive users was the male condom (42%), followed by injectables (23%) and pills (16%). Of note, married women in Kinshasa are more likely to use traditional than modern methods.

    Unmet need for family planning among married women has increased by 9 percentage points since 2007 from 23.5 to 32.5%, with 8.3% having an unmet need for limiting and 24.2% for spacing. The high unmet need was similar across wealth quintiles.

  • Blog post

    How can pigs improve people’s lives in one of the worst conflict zones in the world? Nancy Glass, Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and Associate Director of Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health, talked about her work involving pigs at the recent Center for Public Health and Human Rights Symposium: Women’s Health and Women’s Rights: Where are the Key Synergies?.

    Nancy Glass with survivors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Nancy Glass with survivors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    Pigs for Peace, started in 2008 with a measly $400, is a small project to help improve the lives of people living in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In Eastern DRC, the South Kivu Province, there are a lot of rural areas where violence and civil unrest have been prominent. In response to the devastation of these conflicts, Programme d’Appui aux Initiatives de Developpement Economique du Kivu (Program Supporting Economic Development Initiatives in Kivu or PAIDEK), a microfinance organization in DRC, came up with a great idea to empower and improve the health of women and men.

    The concept is very simple, similar to microfinance lending programs that have gained great popularity in the past few years such as Kiva. The difference is, instead of money the participants are given a female pig. The pig is given to the head of household, man or woman, and in return the recipient must give two pigs back into the program, one to repay the loan and one as interest on the loan. 

    The female pig can improve the dynamics of a family. When it reproduces, pigs can be sold to pay for living expenses or education or they can be used to start small business or finance small farms. Having the pigs gives the participants a sense of empowerment because they are able to pay the loan back and receive a great deal of knowledge and expertise from the project.