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Alternative Care Models Could Help Ensure Most Vulnerable In DRC Can Access Health Care

Devex: Opinion: The daily struggle for survival in Congo
Annemarie Loof, operations manager for Médecins Sans Frontières projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Haiti, and Sierra Leone

“…[T]he needs [in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)] go well beyond Ebola. People in DRC have been struggling for decades with recurring emergency health needs stemming from violence, displacement, and continuous obstacles to accessing health care — and there is an insufficient response from the international community. … In this context of protracted crisis, difficulties in accessing health care results in increased health risks for the population — due to insecurity, difficult terrain, poverty, and vulnerability. It is therefore essential to look at alternative care models. This means health care systems that are adapted to local settings, simplified, and designed to address barriers for patients. … Humanitarian actors and donor governments can develop and implement, including through their support to the Congolese ministry of health, alternative care models to ensure medicines reach those even in the most remote areas. Whether or not the Ebola epidemic will be under control any time soon, the other needs of millions of Congolese men, women, and children need to be addressed — a child dying of measles is as unacceptable as a person dying of Ebola” (4/2).