DR CONGO: PASSKIN Meets Women's Needs to Improve Children's Health

Since 2012, the Project to Support the Health System in the Kinshasa Province (or PASSKIN) contributes to reducing child mortality rates by improving the quality of healthcare provided to mothers. A strategy that has proved to be promising at the dawn of the project’s 3rd year of implementation.

''By meeting the needs of women relating to maternity, children are immediately concerned'', explains Noëlle Wishi, PASSKIN’s gender equity specialist.

In fact, according to the World Health Organization, the risk of death is highest in the first month of life. Offering basic obstetric services, such as quality care during pregnancy, delivery and postpartum, are proven ways of reducing this risk (WHO, 2012).

Therefore, in order to increase mothers’ access to upgraded care, PASSKIN provides support to enable the construction and restoration of health facilities.

In September, the community of Bita took part in the opening ceremony of its health center, which serves a population of more than 10 000 people, in particular women and children. Now equipped with modernized infrastructure and improved health equipment, this facility will be used as a maternity ward and a first aid response center before critically ill patients are transferred to larger health facilities.

In response to mothers’ needs, the Bita Health Center has a labour room and a delivery room, as well as a maternity ward equipped with both a toilet and a shower so that women in childbirth can meet their basic needs in privacy.

For the local communities, such initiatives answer an important concern. While the various barriers pertaining to the quality and geographic distance are slowly fading away, the Kinshasa province population is gaining better access to healthcare.

PASSKIN is a $12.2-million project supported by the Government of Canada and implemented by the CCISD and the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Montréal’s International Health Unit (CHUM-USI), in collaboration with the provincial Ministry of Health. The purpose of PASSKIN is to provide peripheral-level support to the health system in seven health zones in the province of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.




Photo Credits: Caroline Gosselin