Countries of West and Central Africa



© UNICEF Congo

The Republic of the Congo continues to feel the effects of a decade-long brutal civil war that ended in 2003, displaced millions of people and ravaged the country’s economy. The humanitarian crisis remains particularly acute in the Pool region.


Issues facing children in Congo

  • Less than half the population has access to clean water. Diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases are a constant threat, especially in the Pool region, where just 2 per cent of the population has access to modern sanitation and 8 per cent has access to clean water.
  • Infant and under-five mortality rates remain high at 81 and 108 per 1,000 births, respectively.
  • Undernutrition is widespread. One in five children suffers from stunting.
  • Low quality of medical care, poor facilities and inadequate access result in a very high maternal mortality rate : the lifetime risk of dying in childbirth for a Congolese woman is 1 in 26.
  • The adult HIV prevalence is 4.9 per cent, and rising.
  • Net school enrolment rates are just over 50 per cent, and many children are two or three grades behind in their schooling. The civil war destroyed most of the educational infrastructure. Most schools are short of furniture, teachers and supplies.
  • The war left in its wake thousands of children without birth certificates, young girls with babies from unknown fathers, and child soldiers needing demobilization and reintegration into civil society.

Activities and results for children

  • UNICEF and its partners have rehabilitated health centres and provided cold-chain equipment for vaccines, as well as drugs and supplies for pregnancies and deliveries.
  • Construction of 57 wells and 60 latrines has improved access to water and sanitation for thousands of Congolese.
  • A number of schools and kindergartens have been rehabilitated. Tables, other school furniture and educational materials are being supplied.
  • UNICEF has prepared demobilization programmes for child soldiers. Refugees and children traumatized by violence are also receiving counselling.
  • Two thirds of the health centres in the Pool region have reopened, although most still need additional equipment, staff and drugs.


























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