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CDC in Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo at a Glance

  • Population: 69,117,000
  • Per capita income: $300
  • Life expectancy at birth women/men: 50/47 yrs
  • Infant mortality rate: 111/1000 live births
Population Reference Bureau World Population Data Sheet, 2011

See also Health Information for Travelers to Democratic Republic of the Congo »

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established an office in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2002. CDC’s primary focus under PEPFAR is to provide support to the DRC’s Ministry of Health (MoH) to expand access to HIV/AIDS services including prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) and HIV care and treatment, and to strengthen health systems including laboratory quality improvement, strategic information and capacity building. Other areas of collaboration with the MoH include influenza surveillance, rabies surveillance, monkey pox epidemiologic studies, polio eradication and immunization program strengthening and technical assistance to the malaria program.


image of healtcare provider and medicinesThrough the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the CDC Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) office works closely with the Ministry of Health and other in-country partners to improve the national program by building capacities needed to mount and sustain an effective national HIV response. Importantly, these activities support a data-driven, evidence-based approach that is tailored to the unique characteristics of the local epidemic for improved program performance and the most efficient use of resources.

Specific program focus areas include: blood and injection safety, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, pediatric and adult HIV/AIDS care and treatment, tuberculosis/HIV control, national laboratory systems, HIV surveillance, and HIV/AIDS data management systems.

A strategic focus of this support is developing evidence-based and family-centered HIV prevention, care and treatment services. CDC also supports cross-cutting activities by helping DRC make policy level changes that are supportive of key technical areas including: measures against gender-based violence; workforce development; and public-private partnerships addressing health systems strengthening.

Impact in DRC

  • In FY 2012 alone, CDC directly supported the provision of antiretroviral drugs to 1,555 HIVpositive pregnant women to prevent transmission to their infants.

  • As of September 2012, CDC directly supported the provision of antiretroviral treatment to 6,784 men, women and children.

  • DRC has set up 10 sentinel sites for influenza and sever acute respiratory infection surveillance.

  • The President’s Malaria Initiative(PMI) provided two million ITNs(nearly 40% of total need) for a mass distribution campaign in Katanga Province, which was carried out between January and April 2012.

Global Disease Detection

The coordination of global health security activities results in the strengthening of public health institutions and development of capacities to prevent, detect, protect against, control and respond to public health emergencies of international concern. Working with partners across the U.S. Government, as well as ministries of health and multilateral organizations, CDC is leading the efforts to ensure that joint accomplishments are sustainable and aligned with countries’ public health needs and priorities.

Health System Strengthening

Through a newly established DRC Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP), CDC has worked with the Kinshasa School of Public Health to train both human and animal health professionals, including laboratorians, to conduct an evaluation of existing surveillance systems for a variety of public health priority diseases.

The FELTP regional training program was launched in Cameroon in 2010 and with support from GATES foundation; it serves three Central African countries (DRC, CAR and Cameroon). FELTP trains health professional and prepares them to respond to the challenges of detection, prevention and control of potentially epidemic diseases including disease surveillance and proper management of epidemic response.

Other activities in DRC include training health professionals at the national and district levels to strengthen outbreak surveillance, epidemiological investigation and response capabilities across human and animal health disciplines, and development, evaluation and improvement of methods for rapid detection and diagnostic methods for monkeypox in endemic regions of DRC.


image of lab technicianUnder the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), CDC has assigned a resident advisor to DRC as part of an interagency team with USAID to support the MOH in implementing malaria prevention and control interventions. These include providing long-lasting insecticide mosquito nets, preventing malaria in pregnancy, improving diagnostics and case management, surveillance, and monitoring and evaluation of malaria-related activities. Specific examples of CDC technical support have included assistance for the long lasting insecticidal net (LLIN) mass distribution campaign, guidance to the NMCP in formulating/updating their monitoring and evaluation plan for malaria indicators and assisting the NMCP in updating their national treatment guidelines to include the use of injectable artesunate for the treatment of severe malaria cases as well as the use of rectal artesunate for pre-referral treatment in both primary health facilities and as part of the Integrated Community Case Management program.

Neglected Tropical Diseases

image of a group of technician discuss about the lab resultFrom 2011-2015, CDC will be working with the MOH, the Kinshasa School of Public Health and the African Field Epidemiology Network to develop the evidence base and tools needed to support the elimination of onchocerciasis in Africa. The first step of developing the tools is to create an African Onchocerciasis Specimen Bank that can be used to evaluate the available diagnostic tests in a systematic and rigorous manner. The specimen bank will assist in the development of a rapid, field ready test that is appropriate for use by programs as they approach the interruption of the transmission of the parasite that causes River Blindness. The development of such a test is critical to support the efforts to eliminate the parasite in Africa. Initial collection of specimens is scheduled for May 2015.

Top 10 Causes of Death in Senegal

Source: GBD Compare, 2010
  1. Malaria 14%
  2. Diarrheal Diseases 11%
  3. Protein-Energy Malnutrition 9%
  4. Lower Respiratory Infections 8%
  5. HIV 6%
  1. Cancer 5%
  2. Ischemic Heart Disease 4%
  3. Stroke 4%
  4. Preterm Birth Complications 3%
  5. Meningitis 3%
CDC office (physical presence)
6 U.S. Assignees
12 Locally Employed
  • Page last reviewed: October 18, 2013
  • Page last updated: October 18, 2013
  • Content source: Global Health
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