The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has over 50% of the African continent’s water reserves but despite this tremendous potential, 33 million people in rural areas still lack access to quality water. Despite sustained efforts, only 52% of the population has access to an improved water source and 29% has improved sanitation facilities.
At the same time, chronic malnutrition affects 43% of children between 0 and 5 years of age throughout the country. Malnutrition is a result of multiple causes, such as lack of access to safe drinking water, sanitation services and failure to practice basic hygiene practices. Generally, access to safe water and to adequate sanitary and hygienic conditions make it possible to prevent many other waterborne diseases. On the other hand, chronic conflicts in several provinces facilitate the spread of water-borne diseases due to large movements of population. The arrival of displaced people in host communities, with a low rate of access to drinking water, increases the pressure on available resources.
The DRC is a country where cholera is endemic, and has been battling an Ebola outbreak since August 2018.