International Medical Corps’ two Reproductive Health Complexes in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are equipped to provide the highest level of gynecological and obstetric surgical care. Located in Chambucha and Kalonge, this project has helped to improve the health and well-being of 70,000 women of child-bearing age.
A strong stigma surrounds gender-based violence (GBV), which prevents many women from going to a health facility to avoid drawing attention to their situation. Less than 1% of rape victims arrive at a health facility within 72 hours of the attack, making it difficult to prevent sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS with post-exposure prophylaxis, and reducing chances of preventing pregnancy with emergency contraception.
International Medical Corps’ project helped address these needs by establishing a well-equipped facility in accessible locations that are staffed by trained, qualified medical personnel who can now provide a wide range of maternal and reproductive health services, including prenatal and postnatal care, emergency obstetric care, fistula and other gynecological surgeries, clinical care for sexual assault survivors, and education and counseling on family planning and other reproductive and maternal health issues. In coordination with the provincial government, International Medical Corps has successfully trained 171 health workers in primary health care, pregnancy risk, family planning and reproductive health, and emergency obstetrical care. With these skills, they will not only provide treatment but also prevent the development of complex reproductive health problems.
International Medical Corps also strengthened 65 health facilities in order to provide quality healthcare to GBV survivors, while 460 medical and paramedical service providers were trained in evidence-based clinical care for sexual assault survivors.
To promote women’s rights and protection at the community level, International Medical Corps supported the creation of four Gender Task Forces in accessible health areas in the project area. The task forces carried out monthly meetings with International Medical Corps’ guidance to find solutions to identified practices that increase vulnerabilities to GBV, and improve awareness and suggest actions to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality. The traditional birth attendants in these communities supported by International Medical Corps took a strong lead in the task force activities.
International Medical Corps continues to be committed to improving the lives of women and children in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We thank you for your continued commitment, as well.
Over the last two years, International Medical Corps has built two Reproductive Health Complexes in Kalonge and Chambucha, the first facilities of their kind to provide fistula repair. The complexes serve over 70,000 women.
Over 98% of all fistulas (gynecological ruptures) in DRC are caused by a lack of proper obstetric care. Indeed, every pregnancy carries some risk: 15% of all pregnancies have a life-threatening complication requiring emergency obstetric care. Access to qualified medical facilities and care is crucial for all pregnant women, as they are susceptible to preventable disease, disability, and death. The success of emergency maternal and reproductive medical interventions relies as much on well-equipped facilities and well-trained personnel as it does on timeliness. At the Reproductive Health Complexes, women can get the proper care to prevent and treat fistulas and other obstetric complications.
In addition to general reproductive health care at the two Reproductive Health Complexes, women can also seek treatment for sexual gender-based violence. 1,762 sexual gender-based violence survivors received care at 65 supported health facilities, and 842 survivors were provided with post-exposure prophylaxis. The stigma surrounding sexual gender-based violence is strong, and often prevents women from going to a health facility for care as they want to prevent drawing attention to their situation.
International Medical Corps' efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo would not have been possible without your help. We thank you for your generosity as we continue our focus on women in the DRC, and we welcome your continued support.
Following heavy fighting with government forces, a Congolese rebel group has seized control of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province in eastern DRC and home to one million people. More than 25,000 people have fled Goma so far, as have 60,000 refugees from a nearby camp—adding to the 1.6 million people already displaced in eastern DRC after 15 years of civil war.
With over 700,000 civilians now at risk from the escalated violence, International Medical Corps is preparing an emergency response and engaging with humanitarian partners on the ground to assess critical needs. Anticipating shortages of essential medicines and supplies, we are also mobilizing resources to get urgent pharmaceutical and medical supplies to where they are needed.
International Medical Corps always does what it takes to reach those most in need, wherever they are. In eastern DRC, we work in some of the most remote and volatile areas, often where the presence of other international organizations is extremely limited or non-existent. We prioritize women and children’s health, as they tend to be most vulnerable—making up 80% of refugees and internally displaced people worldwide.
Further, in a crisis or refugee situation, one in five women of childbearing age is likely to be pregnant, while access to critical health services becomes extremely limited. As a donor to our “Save a Mom’s Life in the Congo” project, we know that women and children’s health is very important to you. Help us make sure that mothers and children in the Congo continue to receive the lifesaving health services they need—even in the midst of conflict—by contributing to our emergency response in DRC. As always, thank you for your invaluable support for the people of DRC and International Medical Corps’ work in this war-torn country.
Learn more about our emergency response in DRC.
International Medical Corps began working in DRC in 1999 and has since served approximately two million people, 80 percent of them displaced by the war. Today, we provide health care, nutrition, food security, sexual violence prevention and treatment, and water and sanitation services.
Adeline was panicked. The 22-year-old was in intense pain and bleeding after being in labor with twins for hours. She arrived at Therese’s home, one of International Medical Corps’ trained birth attendants, at 2am. Therese quickly assessed her condition and realized the babies were in the breech position, which could cause brain damage or death for the newborns.
Therese advised Adeline’s family to take her immediately to the emergency obstetric facility in Biruwe Town for advanced care. Unfortunately, Adeline’s relatives didn’t have enough money to pay for transport to the health center which is located almost 20 miles away. Therese contacted Tresor, the Village Health Committee Coordinator, who was able to get four neighbors to take Adeline to the health center on an improvised stretcher down the bumpy road to Biruwe.
Once they arrived at the emergency facility, Esperance, a midwife trained in Emergency Obstetric Care by International Medical Corps, helped Adeline successfully deliver two healthy baby boys.
As a result of their newly-acquired skills and with critical help from the Village Health Committee, Esperance and Therese saved three lives in a country with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world.
Over the last year, we’ve trained 146 Trained Birth Attendants in the North Kivu region of Congo. These trained health workers provide pregnant women and newborns within their own communities with the critical care they need.
We’re able to train men and women like Esperance and Therese because of supporters like you. Thank you for your generosity!
We have exciting news we’d like to share with you! Starting at 12:01 am EDT on June 13th, GlobalGiving will match online donations to our projects at 50%.
This means that your gift will go 50% further to help families affected by tragedy overcome difficult obstacles for a happier, healthier future.
Consider giving again to Save a Mom's Life in the Congo or see our many other projects helping devastated communities worldwide recover and rebuild.
And there is more.
The organization that raises the most funds on Bonus Day will receive an additional $1,000 from GlobalGiving. And an additional $1,000 will be given to the organization with the most unique donors.
There are $75,000 available in matching funds – we need you to act fast before they’re gone! If you’ve been waiting for the right time to give, Wednesday is the day. Please don’t hesitate.
Our lifesaving work is possible because of you. Thank you in advance for your generosity.
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