The European Union and UNICEF sign a partnership agreement for better access to health care for the population in DRC
Joint press release
KINSHASA, 22 June 2020 - The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have signed a €4.5 million partnership agreement to help implement the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) National Health Development Plan. This partnership targets children and pregnant women in 33 health zones in 6 provinces: Kongo Central, Kasaï-Oriental, Lomami, North Kivu, Ituri and Haut-Uélé.
The EU is providing the Ministry of Health of the DRC with 106 solar refrigerators to improve the cold chain for better storage of medicines, blood bags and vaccines. It has also purchased rolling stock and nutritional supplies, namely 38,922 boxes of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) for the care of at least 48,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
The rolling stock batch comprises 22 vehicles and 91 motorcycles that were distributed to the Provincial Health Divisions (DPS) of the provinces concerned: 2 vehicles and 6 motorcycles in Haut Uele, 8 vehicles and 28 motorcycles in Ituri, 5 vehicles and 17 motorcycles in North Kivu, 2 vehicles and 12 motorcycles in Kongo Central, 2 vehicles and 13 motorcycles in Kasaï Oriental, 2 vehicles and 15 motorcycles in Lomami and one vehicle in the Directorate of Studies and Planning at the national level.
European Union Ambassador Jean-Marc Châtaigner said: "The European Union, in collaboration with the government, supports the National Health Development Plan for universal access to health care, including poorest in the DRC provinces. In particular, our action enables us to improve means of transport and pay bonuses to doctors working in public hospitals in the hinterland. A caesarean section that costs between $150 and $500 in Kinshasa is worth only $30 in Kananga. This is just one example of how the EU’s support helps people in disadvantaged areas by giving them access to quality health care at affordable prices. »
UNICEF will ensure that the equipment is delivered to and installed at its final destination.
"We support this action by the European Union. We have developed a similar programme, which started in 2018 and has enabled us to equip health zones with solar refrigerators, vehicles, motorcycles with accessories, and to ensure the care of more than 27,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition," said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in DRC.
The Programme for Strengthening the Supply and Development of Access to Health Care (PRODS), responds to some of the obstacles preventing access to health care, including frequent stock-outs of essential products.
The actions undertaken under this programme are in addition to previous European Union programmes in the health sector with a total amount of €150 million under the 11th European Development Fund. Health, a priority sector for the European Union, is also the subject of various humanitarian aid interventions with the Directorate-General for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (formerly known as ECHO) and its Member States. The combination of all these efforts, under the "Team Europe" label, has made it possible to launch the European Union's humanitarian air bridge for the delivery of medical and logistical equipment and the movement of humanitarian personnel. On Saturday 20 June, the last flight delivered the last shipment of 40 tonnes of humanitarian aid supplies for the fight against COVID-19, the Ebola and measles epidemics.
Thanks to EU support, more than 8.5 million people in the DRC are receiving quality, affordable and sustainable health care in health centres and 13.5 million in referral hospitals in the country.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.