The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo have suffered from war and instability for decades. While the situation is improving, much work needs to be done to bring about lasting peace.
The World Health Organizationmonitors HIV incidence in the DRC. Border conflicts, the movement of troops, and the presence of displaced persons and refugees has elevated HIV/AIDS risks in the country. UNAIDS estimated that in 2012 approximately 480,000 people were living with HIV in DRC. The adult age prevalence rate is 1.1%. AIDS related deaths are at about 32,000, and there are about 390,000 orphans due to AIDS.
Due to this situation, Humana People to People Congo approached the Government of the DRC to find ways to radically fight the epidemic. An agreement was signed with HPP-Congo in May of 2009 to begin a three-year TCE program, with funding provided by the World Bank through Programme National Multisectoriel de Lutte contre le SIDA (the DRC's National Aids Council).
Three TCE Areas
TCE was implemented in three areas, covering a total population of 300,000. The three areas were carefully chosen because of local circumstances which put more people at risk of contracting HIV. One area, Kingabwa, was located in the middle of Kinshasa. In this area, TCE also reached soldiers at a military base along with the general population. The other two areas were in the Katanga Province, covering parts of Lubumbashi (precisely Kenya and Kibushi). Lubumbashi includes a population of miners and migrant workers from Zambia.
Locally recruited and trained TCE field officers earned the trust of the community. They were steadfast and fearless in their work, even reaching out to gang members in Lubumbashi about HIV prevention. The enthusiasm for the program grew, and even the Mayor of Kingabwa in Kinshasa declared himself a TCE passionate (volunteer) and active supporter of the program.
Approximately 376,000 people were reached by the program, with 20,376 people being tested and counseled for HIV, and 3,700 pregnant women receiving information about PMTCT. Overall, nearly 81,000 declared themselves TCE complaint.
Both in Kinshasa and in Katanga the baseline showed that there was low condom use. Condom outlets were established in the TCE areas and the condom use doubled very quickly. The challenge became to supply the outlets with enough condoms, as they were rapidly in high demand. More than 1 million condoms were distributed by the end of the program.
Public health services are still far from available to the general population. TCE reached a breakthrough in mobilizing the population for HIV testing. In Kingabwa, Kinshasa, TCE worked with the Force Naval (the military) to mobilize soldiers to be tested. In addition, the program reached out to police officers, and many chose to be tested as an example to others.
Partners Supporting TCE in the DRC
- World Bank
- National Multi-Sector Program against HIV/AIDS (PNMLS), D.R. Congo
See our Partnerships page for a comprehensive list of organizations supporting TCE worldwide.