Project: Reinforcing Social Accountability of Health Services in Bas Congo and South Kivu Provinces
Country: Democratic Republic of Congo
Executing Agency: The Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid CORDAID
Grant Amount: US$ 800,000
Closing Date: November, 2018
As the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has a lot of potential. Overall macroeconomic indicators such as inflation rates are stable and economic growth has maintained an upward trend in recent years. However, despite becoming one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, the DRC is riddled by widespread poverty, particularly affecting rural areas. The country remains fragile after suffering decades of violence and conflict, as reflected in the weak capacity of public institutions to accelerate poverty reduction and improve development outcomes for citizens across the country.
Poor development results are particularly palpable in the health sector. Almost half of all children under the age of five are malnourished. Maternal mortality rates have remained stubbornly high despite government efforts to train a large number of midwives and improve access and quality of health services. At the local level, there are Health Facility Committees (HFCs) that act as a mechanism through which citizens can interact with health authorities and service providers, but they have not been effective at fulfilling their role. The health sector is marred by inefficiencies, insufficient funding, poor infrastructure, limited accountability, and weak institutional capacity. The situation is particularly acute in regions like South Kivu, North Kivu, and Katanga where there is a large number of internally displaced persons and sporadic outbreaks of conflict.
CORDAID, a reputable organization with extensive experience in the DRC, has been granted a GPSA award to contribute to improve the quality and the access of frontline health care services in DRC by strengthening the capacity of HFCs to engage with health authorities in eleven health zones in South Kivu and Bas Congo regions. This will be achieved by implementing four components geared towards: 1) reinforcing the HFC system by strengthening the capacity of its members and service delivery authorities to make better use of it; 2) empowering HFCs to take a larger role in improving health services and collecting citizen feedback; 3) supporting the integration of the poorest and most vulnerable sectors of the population in targeted zones; and 4) building capacity of CSOs involved in project to implement social accountability, and collect knowledge to improve project design and disseminate outcomes and lessons learned by HFCs and local authorities.
Snapshot of the Project's Outcomes
1. 3700 citizens, organized in 185 formerly ineffective Community Health Management Committees now use community score cards and other tools to identify priority issues in their respective health situations, provide adequate feedback to authorities and identify appropriate solutions.
2. 60% of community health management committees now include representatives of vulnerable and marginalized people.
3. Community grants are now allocated more effectively, thanks to improved communication and trust between health center users, providers, and government regulators.
4. Health centers have received long-due new equipment, and outside the centers, simple improvements to communities’ facilities (eg. new water pumps, sturdy sheds for prenatal care) are making a huge difference.