Japan Backs Health Assistance for Crisis-Affected Populations in DR Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo - The Government of Japan has provided additional funding to IOM’s Migrant Health Assistance for Crisis-Affected Populations project, which seeks to strengthen and improve the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) government’s capacity to prevent, detect and respond to diseases outbreaks and other public health occurrences along the country’s border with Angola.
The USD 525,000 supplementary grant builds on and reinforces Japan’s earlier emergency funding in support of IOM’s response to last year’s yellow fever outbreak that started in Angola and spread to the DRC. According to the World Health Organization, the DRC has reported 2,987 suspected cases, 81 laboratory confirmed cases and 16 deaths since the start of the outbreak in December 2015.
This new funding will allow IOM to expand its work with the DRC’s National Programme of Hygiene at Borders (PNHF), roll out a mobility health mapping at the provincial level and boost public health capacities in higher risk areas. This will ultimately allow the PNHF and other state institutions to better prevent, or prepare and coordinate responses to future epidemics and other public health risks.
‘‘This funding is crucial as it allows IOM to continue its support to our government partners to help them better coordinate and address public health emergencies from the angle of migration and human mobility, with an emphasis on early detection and response,” said Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM Chief of Mission in the DRC.
“With an estimated 100,000 people crossing the long and porous border between Angola and the DRC every month to trade in crowded border area marketplaces, the need for better disease prevention, detection and response is paramount,” he added.
As part of the project, awareness raising activities will be carried out using radio, TV and other mass media tools.
The Government of Japan’s emergency funding in 2016 allowed IOM to train and equip 135 border health officials in Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) and yellow fever response best practices.
IOM’s migration health activities in the DRC are carried out in partnership with the Ministry of Health. They aim to provide equitable access to health-care services and psychosocial support for migrants, mobile populations, internally displaced persons and other vulnerable persons, including victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a high disease burden country - HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases are especially prevalent. IOM intends to engage with the Ministry of Health’s national programmes on HIV, tuberculosis and malaria to ensure that migrant-inclusive policies and health services are included in their respective national strategies and action plans.