Congo, Democratic Republic of the

Latest UNICEF data reveal inequities in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Results of 'Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey' released

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF DRC/2010/Wingi
A team from UNICEF's Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey interviews members of a household in Kimaza, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

By Cornelia Walther

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, 5 October 2010 – The latest results of a core UNICEF research tool – The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) – were presented recently in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The MICS, an international programme of standardized household surveys, covers topics including, but not limited to demography, health, nutrition, education, water and sanitation, as well as indicators about the socioeconomic status of the household. The current MICS is in its fourth generation of this assessment and DR Congo is the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to carry it out.

Ongoing partnership

"This study shows that we have made significant progress over the last decade,” said UNICEF Representative in DR Congo Pierrette Vu Thi during the presentation of the survey’s results.

“We must continue our efforts with vigor to reach every child in this country, which is nearly as vast as Western Europe,” she added.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF DRC/2010/Wingi
UNICEF and partners during the launch of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Under leadership of the Ministry of Planning, the MICS was conducted by the National Institute of Statistics with technical and financial support from UNICEF and contributions from the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

"This survey is shedding light on the situation of children and women in DRC today,” said the country’s Minister of Planning Olivier Kamitatu Etsu. “It will help to plan interventions that are crucial to achieve the Millennium Development Goals," he added, referring to the United Nation’s set internationally recognized targets for reducing poverty worldwide by the year 2015.

Between February and April 2010, 350 fieldworkers visited more than 11,000 households across DR Congo’s 11 provinces and its city-province and capital, Kinshasa. Despite insecurity, lack of road infrastructure and temperatures hovering around 45 degrees Celsius, the 84 teams visited village after village, where families responded patiently to their questions, inspired by the hope for a better future for their children.

Evidence of success

Key findings of the MICS show that DR Congo has made significant progress in terms of education and child survival. Today, three out of four children go to school in the country. This represents an increase of 23 per cent compared to 2000, with near parity for girls and boys. 

The latest United Nations report on global child mortality shows that worldwide mortality rates among children below five years old are the highest in sub-Saharan Africa, where one in eight children dies before his or her fifth birthday. In DR Congo, 158 out of every 1,000 children die before their fifth birthday. Although this figure is still very high, it shows a positive trend compared to 2001, when 205 out of every 1,000 did not reach the age of five.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF DRC/2010/Wingi
A young girl whose parents were interviewed by a Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey team in Kimaza, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Among the worrying tendencies are the degradation of birth registration and the stagnation in the use of improved drinking water sources and improved sanitation facilities. Still today, only one in seven people in DR Congo lives in acceptable hygienic conditions and less than half of the population has access to safe drinking water. Two out of three children under five do not have a birth certificate, a situation that has worsened over the past decade. Indeed, while 34 percent of the country’s children under five were registered in 2000, this figure dropped to 28 per cent in 2010.

Striving toward the MDGs

Much remains to be done to achieve the MDGs in DR Congo, beginning with the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach women and children.

The MICS 4 noted that for every four fully vaccinated children in socio-economically well-off families, there is just one fully vaccinated child in the category of ‘disadvantaged households.’ The same was found for literacy: there are four times as many literate women in wealthy families as those in disadvantaged ones.

The most vulnerable – identified with the help of MICS and other core assessment tools – must become a top priority in order to bridge this gap and achieve the MDGs with equity. There is no time to waste.


 

 

New enhanced search