The installation of an elected government in 2007 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) presents the greatest opportunity since independence for stable democracy in this country. However, the country still faces serious health challenges after decades of unrest, armed conflicts and civil war.
The DRC has a population of 73.3 million and is growing rapidly, with a 2.8% annual growth rate. Almost 46% of the population is under the age of 15, and life expectancy is about 52 years for women and 48 years for men.
The typical family has about 6 children, and the contraceptive prevalence rate for modern methods among women is a startlingly low 8%. The infant mortality rate for children under five years of age is 9%.
HIV prevalence is low but growing: Among adults ages 15-49, 3.2% are infected, and there are an estimated one million people living with HIV, 120,000 of whom are under 14 years of age.
Sandra Gass is the director of DKT’s program in the DRC. She and her team are in the process of building a reproductive health social marketing program in the Kinshasa metropolitan area and in Bas Congo, Bandundu and Katanga provinces.
In 2011, DKT embarked on an ambitious training program for nurses, doctors, pharmacists and community mobilizers. Training has been conducted in all provinces in which DKT operates. As of March 2013, 332 nurses, 158 doctors from 195 clinics, 54 pharmacists and 85 community mobilizers have been trained in family planning. Although all contraceptive methods are covered, an emphasis is placed on building capacity of clinicians to provide quality counseling and service delivery of long term methods and enable pharmacists and community mobilizers to provide correct information regarding these methods and make referrals to clinics that have been trained to deliver long term methods.
Promotional events for OK Condoms have been held in Bas Congo and Bandundu provinces. During these events, DKT staff wear OK Condom T-shirts and distribute samples and leaflets while riding in a caravan of vehicles branded with OK, stopping at markets and bars to interact with people. In 2012, a musical video was developed which has been broadcast on TV and radio and played through loudspeakers on sales vehicles. The OK Condom continues to garner brand equity.
DKT has expanded its operations to include Bas Congo, Bandundu and Katanga provinces, and has extended its reach in Kinshasa. Further expansion is planned in 2014, both in geographic scope and product portfolio.
In 2015, DKT Congo sold over 12 million condoms, over 300,000 cycles of oral contraceptive pills and more than 25,000 IUDs. This translates into 394,791 couple years of protection.
For more information, please contact our country director. You can find their information here.
Check out the Facebook page for the DKT’s Youth Program in the DR Congo.