(Matadi, Congo) The Redemptorist Vice-Province of Matadi (RVPM) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will implement and manage Kimpesi Maternal Health project. RVPM is a Vice-Province of the Redemptorist Province of St. Clement’s Germany (RPG). RVPM is a constituent member of the Redemptorist Conference for Africa and Madagascar (COREAM).
The Kimpese Health Zone is a large geographical area, with bad roads and many citizens living up to 116 kms from the hospital in Kimpese town. The project zone has 20 health centres (1 General Hospital + 1 Secondary Hospital + 8 structured Health Centres with a doctor, and 10 other centres without a doctor).
The Kimpese Health Zone faces the following problems:
1. Poor Health Infrastructure and amenities
2. Lack of equipment and medicine at health amenities. There is little deployment of budgets to support the Kimpese Health Zone. Staff are regularly not paid or underpaid etc.
3. The absence of Medical Specialists, Kimpese had only 2 specialists among 30 doctors;
4. The very high rate of maternal deaths;
5. The very high rate of infant and child mortality;
6. Low levels of detection of high risk pregnancies (19%);
7. A low rate of referral of high-risk pregnancies to better equipped structures (3%);
8. The late referral of pregnant women to better equipped centres;
9. The low level of support for premature children / or babies in shock;
10. The late detection of obstetric complications;
11. The low proportion of women attending for antenatal care (47%) and family planning training (4%) and the high transmission of sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS (3159 cases in 2016);
12. The inability of a large proportion of the population to pay fees for health care;
40% of children admitted to Pediatric services and 30% of women who have just given birth or had surgery are extremely poor and struggle to pay for any services and there have been cases of women’s liberty being curtailed at health centres until payment for medical services are received. Average monthly income of families in KHZ is estimated at 13 dollars a month according the Health Development Plan. COREAM and RVPM commissioned a Needs Assessment focused on two health districts, namely (i) Kimpese (ii) Mbanza-Ngungu.
Bad Roads in the Kimpese Health Zone cause many problems. The underlying problem is acute poverty, lack of resources, poor infrastructure and demotivated health workers.
The development strategy is based on five principle activities:1. Re-training “Capacity Building” of 30 community workers in the “Safe Motherhood” Programme so that they will share their learning with the target group and their community; 2. Providing incentives for Nurses and community workers to educate pregnant women in ante-natal care, family planning, preventive ways to stop sexually transmitted diseases, and human rights etc; 3. Renovating two Health Centres, at Chantier Malele and Songa; 4. Provision of 120 C-section Kits; 5. Subsidizing C-section operations by paying 50% of the costs to doctor for pregnant women who are deemed most in need.
Doctors and nurses in the Kimpese Health Zone
The project is focused on achieving three distinct changes:
- To facilitate increased access for poor women in the Kimpese Health Zone to skilled care and education during and after their pregnancy
- To reduce the rate of maternal deaths that are so prevalent in the Kimpese Health Zone (KHZ)
- To reduce the unacceptably high Perinatal mortality rate in the KHZ
Furthermore, the project would like to implement strategies to tackle the human rights abuse of women, where, when they struggle to pay, for example for a C-section, their liberty is sometimes curtailed. The project wishes to see a greater deployment of resources towards the KHZ, so that integral equipment, essential drugs, and medical workers salaries are resourced.
Finally, the project would like to see RVPM become a more important actor in the rural health sector, and to see excellent linkages, joined up thinking and planning between the Kimpese Health Zone and the
Distribution of C-Section Kits in the Kimpese Health Zone