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Home / News / Violence, fear limit access to pregnancy care in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kasai area | UNFPA

Violence, fear limit access to pregnancy care in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kasai area | UNFPA

KALOMBA, Democratic Republic of the Congo – Jacqueline Lusambo is 18 and pregnant, and has spent the final six months dwelling in the bush, hiding from the battle that rages by means of Kasai Central, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

She didn’t assume it might be this manner. When she discovered, eight months in the past, that she was pregnant together with her second youngster, she and her husband have been dwelling comfortably in the village of Milambo.

But violence between authorities forces and armed teams quickly reached their area. Neighbouring villages have been burned to the bottom. People have been kidnapped and killed, she advised UNFPA.

After their household fled, Ms. Lusambo discovered herself alone, caring for her one-year-old boy, questioning how she would give start on the run.

Jacqueline Lusambo together with her son on the cellular clinic in Kalomba. ©UNFPA DRC

“Afraid to go out to health centres”

Ms. Lusambo is one of an estimated 1.four million individuals in Kasai who’ve fled their houses over the previous yr. She has not heard from her husband since February, and is unsure if he’s one of the three,300 individuals thought to have been killed.

“There are many dislocated families with tragic stories like that, as the violence that has started in Central Kasai has now spread across the five provinces of Kasai, Kasai Central, Kasai Oriental, Sankuru and Lomami,” stated Innocent Ilenga, a coordinator  with ADSSE, an area NGO that’s registering  displaced individuals.

UNFPA and companions Caritas Congo and Caritas Kananga have deployed cellular clinics to attain pregnant women and others in want of reproductive health care. 

“That is the only way we can reach these women and save their lives, as most of them are afraid to go out to health centres for antenatal care,” stated Dr. Marguerite Kunduma of UNFPA.

The cellular clinics are reaching areas the place heath centres and hospitals have been destroyed, and are additionally offering present health amenities with primary and emergency reproductive health provides and providers, she stated. 

Midwife Agnes Bilondo speaks to women concerning the significance of antenatal care and the indicators of pregnancy compilcations. Visitors to the clinic additionally obtain details about household planning and providers for survivors of gender-based violence. ©UNFPA DRC

Ms. Lusambo arrived on the cellular clinic in Kalomba together with her son, now 20 months previous. It was the primary antenatal check-up of her pregnancy.

She isn’t distinctive, says Agnes Bilondo, the midwife from Tshikula Hospital, which is supporting the cellular clinics. She stated there are lots of who’ve by no means even visited a health centre, and who give delivery in the bush, unattended.

During the day of Ms. Lusambo’s go to, almost 180 pregnant women acquired care, and eight pregnancy problems have been detected and referred to the Tshikula Hospital.

Because malnutrition is more and more a priority among the many affected inhabitants, the women acquired deworming medicine and vitamin dietary supplements. And additionally they acquired particular person clear supply kits, which include sterile gear to assist them ship at house if they’re unable to attain a health facility.

The energy to assist

The battle has affected 170 health centres in the Kasai Region.

In response, UNFPA has provided reproductive health kits to 25 health amenities in the eight worst-affected health zones in Kasai Central, Kasai and Kasai Oriental. These kits include the provides wanted to handle a variety of reproductive health considerations, together with emergency obstetric care and post-rape remedy.

The kits are projected to final three months, assembly the wants of an estimated 450,000 individuals, together with 22,500 pregnant women, stated Dr. Polycarpe Takou, UNFPA’s humanitarian coordinator. “Two thousand seven hundred gender-based violence survivors and 3,000 women with obstetric complications could be managed,” he stated.

News of the cellular clinics has circulated shortly amongst affected communities. ©UNFPA DRC

“We can now provide post-rape care and address sexually transmitted infections,” stated Louis Tshiyoyo, a nurse on the Kalomba health centre. He stated they have been in a position to deal with 64 instances of sexually transmitted infections and two rape survivors the day of the cellular clinic.

“We were powerless before,” he stated.

Much extra wanted

Still, far more is required.

“We urgently need to scale up our humanitarian response through the establishment of more accessible gender-based violence services and sexual and reproductive health interventions,” Dr. Takou stated, “and for that we need more funding.”

The UN flash attraction for Kasai, launched in late April, “is just funded at 26 per cent,” he added.

UNFPA is now working to set up a hub in Kasai Central Province to higher tackle reproductive health wants and to help survivors of gender-based violence.

These providers are sorely wanted, Ms. Bilondo stated, noting that health employees are overwhelmed by the quantity of individuals looking for care each time the cellular clinic is on the street.

“We screen 150 pregnant women at least, every time we are out,” she stated.

As for Ms. Lusambo, she is decided to return for a follow-up go to, regardless of the three-hour stroll it takes.

“I will continue to come until I deliver,” she stated, including that she has to keep wholesome her youngsters. Right now, she is all they’ve. 

– Assane Ba

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