Democratic Republic of Congo

UPDATE: July 2017                                                                                                                                

Within less than a year, the Greater Kasai region in the centre of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was transformed from a peaceful area in a troubled country to one of the most serious humanitarian crises in the world today. Unrest in this area the size of Italy began in August 2016, when the Congolese armed forces killed a local chief.  

Within ten months:

  • 52 mass graves have been discovered (There is no reliable number of the number of dead and wounded during this conflict)
  • 1.3 million people have fled their homes and 30,000 are refugees in nearby Angola (which places the DRC as the country with the largest number of refugees and displaced this year, ahead of Syria)
  • Up to 400,000 children may be at risk of acute malnutrition according to UNICEF. May and June are planting season, and failure to follow the planting calendar because people are not safe enough to work in fields can threaten October’s harvest, and therefore people’s main source of food and income
  • Two international UN experts have been killed in DRC, which is a first since the UN deployed the group of international experts for investigation of human rights violations in 1999.

The ongoing violence and instability have drastically reduced the availability of medical services and treatment, as well as access to medical facilities.

Kananga and its surroundings

Since April 2017, MSF has run its own facility in part of the Ministry of Health’s Kananga General Hospital. The team has rehabilitated the operating theatre and manages a surgery ward with a capacity for 49 inpatients.

Outside Kananga, insecurity and violence are worsening. Local health centres are deserted or lack medicines and staff.  An MSF team is operating mobile clinics to reach the population in the conflict-affected zones and provide medical assistance. Many displaced people lost access to their income sources due to the insecurity in the area and suffer from nutritional deficiencies.


MSF started working in Tshikapa in the second week of June 2017. A team is supporting three health centres and a general reference hospital in the urban zone of Tshikapa, and providing medical and humanitarian assistance to vulnerable groups. In the first 13 days of operations, MSF initiated treatment for more than 191 malnourished children by means of two ambulatory and one inpatient therapeutic feeding centres. The teams have carried out 301 consultations of children of less than five years old, assisted 54 births and treated 18 people for conflict related injuries while received and treated the first cases of sexual violence.



Activities  2015 International Activity Report

The Katanga region in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was hit by a huge measles epidemic in 2015, and tens of thousands of people were affected.

Such health emergencies occur with alarming regularity in DRC, a result of poor infrastructure and inadequate health services, which are unable to prevent or respond to outbreaks of disease. In Katanga, for example, there have been measles epidemics every few years, owing to the failure of routine vaccination programmes and the shortage of healthcare in remote parts of the region. MSF launched activities in April in Malemba Nkulu health zone, eventually deploying multiple teams and intervening in over half of the affected health zones. Teams carried out vaccinations and supported measles treatment for patients at over 100 health centres. By early December, they had vaccinated over 962,000 children against measles and supported the treatment of nearly 30,000 who had caught the disease.

At the beginning of the year, MSF mobile clinics responded to malnutrition and malaria among internally displaced people in camps in Nyunzu and Kabalo in Katanga, and vaccinated children under the age of five living in the camps and the surrounding areas against measles. MSF also continued its efforts to bring cholera under control in Kalemie and in Kituku, Undugu and Kitaki health zones, monitoring and treating diarrhoeal diseases, providing oral vaccinations, improving the water supply infrastructure and distributing filters. In addition, over 30,100 people were treated for malaria during May and June in Kikondja, and measles vaccinations were provided between July and November in Kikondja, Bukama and Kiambi. A South Kivu emergency response team also vaccinated 81,590 children against measles in Haut Lomami between September and November.

As the security situation in the Shamwana area stabilised, displaced people began returning home. MSF expanded its support from six to seven health centres and increased the number of specialised community health sites where patients with malaria, malnutrition and diarrhoeal diseases are identified and treated. Teams continued to provide comprehensive healthcare at Shamwana hospital, carrying out 76,293 outpatient consultations and 1,680 individual mental health sessions.

Despite some improvements, the eastern provinces remained largely insecure, as the Congolese army and several different armed groups fought for control over resource-rich territory. There were attacks on civilians, which caused further waves of displacement, and many incidents of banditry and kidnapping. MSF remains one of few international organisations providing medical care in these areas.

Read more about MSF's activities in DRC in 2015.

Year MSF first worked in the country: 1981.

2015 Key figures
Outpatient consultations 1,652,000
Patients treated for malaria 885,500
Patients admitted to hospital 156,500
Individual and group mental health consultations 30,500
Number of patients treated in feeding centres 22,300
Surgical interventions 17,000
Patients received first-line ARV 5,000
No. staff in 2015 2,867
2015 Expenditure €100.3 million

Figures from 2015 International Activity Report
and 2015 International Financial Report

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