Health Fact Sheet

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was once renowned in Africa for its network of clinics, quality of physicians, and primary health care system. Over the past three decades, the political and economic collapse of the country has had a dramatic impact on this system. Hospitals and clinics lack personnel and equipment, and often run out of critical medicine and supplies. An estimated 70 percent of Congolese have little or no access to health care. In 2013, with only 8 percent of women using one form of contraceptive, the fertility rate in the DRC remains among the highest in the world at 6.6 children per mother. Nearly 39 percent of women of childbearing age are anemic and 14 percent are underweight. Rates of malnutrition have remained very high for two decades: 43 percent of children under age 5 are stunted, an indication of chronic malnutrition, and 8 percent are wasted, an indication of acute malnutrition.

Malaria remains a major health problem. In 2015, the DRC accounted for 9 percent of new cases and 10 percent of deaths worldwide. Malaria is responsible for nearly 1 out of 5 deaths of children under age 5.

Based on 2017 estimates published by the World Health Organization, the DRC is among the 14 countries that account for the majority of TB, TB/HIV and MDR-TB cases in the world.  The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the DRC is lower than in many sub-Saharan African countries, at 1.7 percent in the general population (age 15-49), but higher among key populations.

Strengthening the health care system is critical to improving the health of Congolese citizens. The country has made measurable progress in recent years, due to improved leadership, coordination and investments in priority health issues by the Ministry of Public Health (MPH) and international partners. Between 2007 and 2013, mortality for children under the age of 5 decreased by 30%, from 148 to 104 deaths per 1,000 live births. In 2013, 45 percent of children ages 12 to 23 months received all recommended vaccines, compared to 31 percent in 2007.

USAID’s health program, which promotes key U.S. government priorities, is the Agency’s largest sector in the DRC with $202.5 million provided in Fiscal Year 2017. The DRC is a focus country for the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Ending Preventable Maternal and Child Death initiative, the Global Financing Facility, and the Global Health Security Initiative.

USAID supports primary health care services in 178 health zones and serves more than 31 million people in 9 provinces (Kasaï Oriental, Kasaï Central, Sankuru, Lomami, Sud Kivu, Haut Lomami, Haut Katanga, Lualaba, Tanganyika). USAID's support for HIV/AIDS is concentrated in 21 health zones in Kinshasa, Haut Katanga and Lualaba provinces. USAID’s programs to strengthen the DRC’s fragile health systems are critical for sustaining improvements in service delivery at the national, provincial, and local levels.

*  Governance: USAID supports MPH reforms to streamline and decentralize the public sector. USAID provides technical and financial assistance for the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluations of annual operational plans at the provincial and local levels, and trains communities to identify and solve health-related challenges using locally available resources.

*  Supply Chain: USAID improves the availability of essential medicines at all levels of the health system and strengthens national health commodity supply chain systems.

*  Human Resources: USAID increases the managerial and technical capacity of health workers and professionals at all levels. USAID career development initiatives include providing scholarships and improving the academic and administrative functions of the Kinshasa School of Public Health. USAID also advocates for the adequate and timely payment of salaries for health care workers.

*  Financing: USAID advocates for improved financing for health from the Government of DRC, leveraging funds from other donors, and finding innovative financing models to improve service delivery.

*  Service Delivery: USAID helps health zones deliver an essential package of care in selected regions and promotes the health of vulnerable groups—women, girls, newborns, and children under 5—while reducing the prevalence of diseases such as malaria, TB, and HIV/AIDS.


·  In USAID-assisted health zones, 487,655 women delivered babies with skilled birth assistance; 547,998 women attended at least one antenatal care visit and 329,074 women attended at least four visits; 475,408 newborns received neonatal care; and 30,632 newborns received antibiotic treatment.

·  A total of 909,097 episodes of diarrhea in children were treated with oral rehydration salts (ORS) or with ORS plus zinc and 637,382 children under five were treated for pneumonia.

·  USAID improved the quality of malaria diagnosis, prevention, and treatment services for 38 percent of the DRC population - approximately 33.7 million Congolese - and distributed more than 2 million insecticide treated bed nets.

·  USAID provided nutritional counseling to 859,066 mothers of children under 2 years of age.

·  USAID helped 354,052 people gain first-time access to improved drinking water and 256,526 people gained first-time access to improved sanitation facilities.

·  USAID provided HIV counselling and testing to 368,003 individuals. Of those tested, 12,436 tested positive for HIV and 10,837 were initiated on treatment. Overall, 29,231 patients received antiretroviral treatment in USAID supported health zones.




Integrated Health Project

Abt Associates

Global Health Supply Chain - Technical Assistance


Global Health Supply Chain - Procurement Supply Management


World Health Organization/Africa Regional Office (WHO/AFRO) Support for Disease Control and Reproductive Health in Africa

World Health Organization

Health Financing and Governance (HFG)

Abt Associates, Inc.



Fistula Care Plus

Engender Health

Project Cure

Project Cure

Maternal and Child Survival Program




Central Contraceptive Procurement (CCP)

John Snow, Inc.

Evidence to Action (E2A)


Support to International Family Planning Organizations (SIFPO)

Population Services International (PSI)



UNICEF Maternal and Child Health Umbrella Grant

United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF)


University of North Carolina


Center for Communication Programs, Johns Hopkins University


Abt Associates



Integrated HIV/AIDS Project-Kinshasa

The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation

Integrated HIV/AIDS Project-Haut Katanga/Lualaba


Orphans and Vulnerable Children ELIKIA Project

Education Development Center, Inc.

Coordinating Comprehensive Care for Children Affected by HIV/AIDS (4Children)

Catholic Relief Services

Global Health Supply Chain – Procurement of HIV Rapid Test Kits

Remote Medical International (RMI)

Linkages Across the Continuum of HIV Services for Key Populations Affected by HIV (LINKAGES)

FHI 360



TB Challenge

International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease



World Health Organization Consolidated Grant (Polio Commodities)

World Health Organization

Health and Immunization Response Support




UNICEF Maternal and Child Health Umbrella Grant


Last updated: August 13, 2018

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