Democratic Republic of Congo
HISTORY OF GLOBAL REFUGE IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
In late 2015, war broke out in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, displacing tens of thousands of people and causing conditions for many that were unsustainable for living. Food immediately became scarce and many were dying from malnutrition, cholera, malaria and other diseases.
Global Refuge responded in November 2015 with life-saving medical care and emergency feeding. The fighting has strengthened and weakened in the time that Global Refuge has been present in the region, but the work has never stopped. The emergency care became a full service feeding center and medical clinic with inpatient capabilities in early 2016. The clinic is able to provide lab tests and minor surgical procedures.
Global Refuge has been able to acquire land for growing essential foods in the area. These foods have been able to supplement the nutritional programs that are critical to keeping the entire displaced population from severe malnutrition.
Global Refuge continues to monitor other displacements across Eastern Congo and will respond when our assistance will be needed.
2017 KEY FIGURES
Men, women & children who received care:
No. staff in 2017:
CURRENT WORK: NORTH KIVU DISTRICT
North Kivu District
Borders Uganda & Rwanda
STATISTICS ABOUT DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
- Democratic Republic of Congo has one of the highest maternal death rates in the world, with 846 per 100,000 live births
- According to the World Health Organization, the country has 0.28 physicians and 1.91 nurses/midwives per 10,000 people
- Today, the total number of internally displaced people in DRC has reached 4.4 million, which is the highest number of any country on the African continent. North Kivu Province remains the most affected, accounting for over 1.1 million displaced persons as of April 2018.
In August of 2018, Ebola showed up about 20 miles from the center of Global Refuge operations in Democratic Republic of Congo. In response, Global Refuge began airing radio broadcasts around the clock in dozens of areas at risk for Ebola. These messages were recorded in three local languages (French, Swahili and Kinande) and explain the risks of Ebola and the ways to avoid spreading the disease. They also guided people to facilities that were able to handle suspected cases.
Global Refuge mobilized a number of teams in the most difficult 4 health districts affected by Ebola. The teams travelled to every gathering place, health clinic and other significant places with materials and education on Ebola.
Global Refuge was able to gain access to multiple groups of Congolese soldiers across the region and educated thousands of soldiers on how to avoid transmitting Ebola. Thousands of soldiers were trained.
GRI’s Oicha Clinic provides medical treatment to the displaced Bantu and Pygmy population in the Oicha region. The clinic focuses on treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, pneumonia, upper respiratory infections, malaria, malnutrition and communicable skin infections.
Due to food insecurity in this region, malnutrition is a main cause of death among this population. GRI provides therapeutic and supplementary feeding to malnourished children and adults. GRI staff follows strict guidelines for enrollment in the feeding program including checking the height, weight and middle upper arm circumference of each person. This is checked again weekly to monitor weight gain. GRI also provides food and medical treatment as needed to siblings and mothers of children enrolled in the feeding program.
GRI believes in training and equipping those living in displacement. Therefore community health education including hygiene, disease prevention, recognition of malnutrition, medication compliance and disease monitoring are taught to medics in this region.
In addition, GRI has been conducting an agricultural project in this region since November 2015 in order to ensure food security for those who are displaced. This program has included distribution of seeds and hoes to Pygmies and weekly visits by GRI staff to ensure proper planting and maintain accountability. Also small gardens have been planted at the Oicha clinic to provide nutrition and model healthy eating to parents and children receiving treatment at the clinic.
Global Refuge started the Lubero program the 7th of March, 2018 in Lubero, North Kivu, DRC. The program was to give medical assistance to more than 11,000 displaced people living in Lubero through the Lubero General Hospital. It was a 4 month program that started the 7th of March and ended the 6th of July, 2018. In this program, the GRI staff consisted of 5 people: Program Director, Program Supervisor, Medical Doctor, Secretary and Pharmacist.
There were a number of diseases that GRI was treating in the project.
2. Acute respiratory infection
3. Urinary tract infections
6. Typhoid fever
7. Supporting the deliveries
The other diseases which were not enumerated at the list were subjected to the GRI/DRC Doctor’s discretion and the GRI/DRC Director was the one to give the go ahead of their treatment. Among these diseases we had 2 cases of baby head surgeries, bullet injury surgery, hand amputation, artificial anus surgery, appendicitis surgeries and so many other special cases.
During our Lubero project, we treated 3,133 displaced people directly and provided care to the entire 11,000 person population through the Lubero General Hospital.
Kipese is a city situated in 35km south of Lubero city and has a population of 20,045. Since the beginning of 2017, the militia called Mai Mai Mazembe started fighting with the government force in Kipese. This everyday fighting forced the population of Kipese to leave their homes and take refuge in Lubero and other villages surrounding Kipese.
A month after starting the Lubero project, Global Refuge received a letter from one of the clinics in Kipese asking for assistance. This clinic is a Catholic Church clinic and serves as the main health center in Kipese. It has 2 doctors, 11 nurses and 16 other staff. It also has 100 beds for inpatients but 80 of the beds have no mattresses.
During the fighting, this clinic was unfortunately attacked and medicine and other clinic materials were looted by the government forces. At the end of March, some people started returning back to their homes and the clinic was obliged to starting working afresh despite the lack of materials. Global Refuge was asked for assistance, seeking mattresses, a microscope and lab materials in order to help the clinic be in a good condition of serving patients as required. We in DR Congo realized the importance to present the needs to the Global Refuge head office. Assisting this clinic is very important because by doing so, Kipese's people will no longer be traveling 35km to Lubero to be treated.