The Democratic Republic of Congo is a vast country in West Africa, it shares its borders with 9 countries and covers an area rich in natural resources (including gold, oil, diamonds, tantalum, silver, uranium, cobalt and copper). As for many other African countries however, this wealth does not have an effect on human development, since it is one of the last countries on the list (179th out of 189 Human Development Index List of 2019).
The DRC is also a country of emigration and immigration, and it hosts asylum seekers from many of its neighbouring countries, such as Rwanda, the Central African Republic and Burundi. On the other hand, around 4 million Congolese are classified as IDPs (Internally Displaced People, internal refugees), due to clashes between the Congolese armed forces and rebels.more...
Congo’s healthcare system is very weak, especially in terms of prevention and vaccinations. In 2018, the Ebola epidemic made the situation even worse, especially in the north of the country. The lack of health facilities and equipment has very serious consequences, especially in rural areas where only 30% of the population has access to essential care.
In 2001 the government started creating “zones de santé”, that is operational units of the Congolese health system. The country now has 516 zones de santé, 393 hospitals and 8,266 healthcare centres throughout the country.
DREAM in Congo
There are 450,000 people with HIV/AIDS and around 13,000 deaths a year in DRC. The Community of Sant’Egidio has been working in the country since 2008 and it currently runs two healthcare centres that have molecular biology laboratories with the DREAM programme. Both centres are an integral part of the public health system. DREAM in fact signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health, which authorised and facilitated the construction of these centres and the laboratories.
The first DREAM centre, with its molecular biology laboratory, opened in 2009 in Mbandaka, the capital of the province of Equateur, and it is currently run in collaboration with the religious congregation, the Daughters of Charity. The Mbandaka centre collaborates with many maternity centres in this area, which has a high HIV prevalence. The Ministry of Health has acknowledged the centre as a Treatment Centre of Excellence (CTE).
The DREAM centre in Kinshasa, on the other hand, opened in July 2011 and has a day hospital for patients and a molecular biology laboratory for monitoring HIV/AIDS. The laboratory measures the viral load for the DREAM centre but there are also agreements with other healthcare centres in the city so they can collaborate with the laboratory too....less