DRC Government Must Commit To Strengthening Its Health System, Supporting Community Health Efforts

Global Health NOW: A Single Bracelet Does Not Jingle
Ousmane Faye, project director of the USAID-supported Integrated Health Project

“…In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a country beleaguered by years of civil war, official corruption and mismanagement, and civil apathy, the path to building a strong health system is challenging. One initiative, focused on building up community-level care, has shown success — but without more support from the Congolese government, it might not continue. The USAID-funded Integrated Health Project (IHP) aims to increase the availability of health services for the most vulnerable people in the country … Of all the IHP interventions, … we have found that the single most cost-effective and effective is a volunteer community health worker initiative called ‘integrated community case management.’ But after its initial five-year run, IHP is coming to a close. And if the Congolese government doesn’t make its own investments to leverage the important efforts already under way, the lives of countless children will be at risk. … Until that commitment is made, the health of some of DRC’s most vulnerable people will continue to rely on international donors. If everyone involved in building the country’s health system doesn’t get serious about these promising community efforts, moms and kids will perish first and, as a result, the rest of the country will suffer” (3/3).