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Democratic Republic of Congo

Handicap International works to prevent disability in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Kinshasa, the organisation is making particular efforts to assist mothers and children, including by improving the early detection of disability and the access of children with disabilities to school. In the east of the country, the organisation is providing support to the most vulnerable people in zones affected by the chronic humanitarian crisis.

Assessing living conditions in Democratic Republic of Congo - Handicap International

© Till Mayer / Handicap International

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Handicap International has been working in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1994. The organisation runs several types of project, ranging from prevention of the causes of disabilty to the social inclusion of people with disabilities.

In Kinshasa, the capital, Handicap International is highly active in the field of disability prevention, and mother and child health represents a particularly serious challenge. The organisation also campaigns to promote improved road safety, as road accidents are another major cause of disability in the country. In Kinshasa and Kananga, it is also working to improve rehabilitation services, by training orthoprosthesists and producing mobility aids (such as crutches and wheelchairs).

Handicap International promotes the full inclusion of people with disabilities in society, and is campaigning for children with disabilities to have access to education, especially girls. The organisation also supports Congolese organisations that defend the rights of people with disabilities.

In North Kivu, Handicap International provides support for the most vulnerable people in the zones affected by the chronic humanitarian crisis in the region. The organisation is clearing mines and explosive remnants of war to secure the land and improve the living conditions of communities living in conflict-affected areas. Handicap International is also improving the case-management of people with disabilities and the post-operative follow-up of victims of armed conflict in health facilities and rehabilitation centres.

The organisation also coordinates a logistics platform designed to help humanitarian aid to reach the remotest areas, in collaboration with national and international organisations and the United Nations. In particular, it provides these stakeholders with a fleet of trucks and an equipment storage facility. Finally, the organisation is raising the awareness of humanitarian organisations of the need to take the most vulnerable people into consideration, to ensure they are included in the services these organisations provide.

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Situation of the country

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, access to quality health care is problematic for most of the country’s inhabitants.

This country, which is the second-largest nation in Africa, is ranked 176 out of 188 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI). The seriously dilapidated state of the country’s roads and sanitary facilities, and the extreme poverty afflicting the majority of its inhabitants, have significant consequences in terms of health. The problems affect the whole of this vast country.

In addition, for more than fifteen years now, the Democratic Republic of Congo has been destabilised by an alarming humanitarian crisis marked by violent armed conflicts, mainly in the provinces of North and South Kivu (in the east of the country): epidemics (cholera, measles and viral haemorrhagic fever), increased exposure to natural disasters (flooding, landslides, volcanic eruptions and brush fires) and a widespread context of poverty and insecurity. The situation has seen widespread population movements both within the country and of refugees from neighbouring countries.

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