Health System and EPI Program
Basic health care is provided through 515 health zones (antennes) in the country's 11 provinces.
Immunization is a central strategy in DR Congo’s National Health Sectoral Development Plan (Plan National de Développement Sanitaire, PNDS 2011‐2015). EPI is one of several programs located in the Ministry of Health Disease Control Directorate. It is a highly decentralized program with sizable, direct inputs from WHO, UNICEF, USAID and other external partners at all levels.
WHO and UNICEF maintain field offices in ten of the provinces. The field offices administer EPI funding in coordination with multisectoral Committes Provincaux de Pilotage and with Provincial EPI Program managers. Oversight for the national EPI is provided by an Inter‐Agency Coordinating Committee (Comité National de Coordination du Secteur de la Santé).
Over the period 2006-2011, Gross National Income (GNI) in the Democratic Republic of Congo increased from $130 to $190 per capita. According to the WHO/UNICEF-Joint Reporting Form (JRF) Database , DRC’s government expenditures did not surpass $1 per surviving infant over the period of 2006-2011. Unfortunately, expenditure data is not available for 2007 and the reported expenditure for 2008 was zero. In 2010, the government spent $1.7 million, accounting for only 2% of the program’s total cost. In 2011, the government spent $1.8 million on routine immunization, making up 31% of the program’s total cost.
After a four-year interim between two constitutions that established new political institutions at the various levels of all branches of government, as well as new administrative divisions for the provinces throughout the country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is now a presidential democratic republic. The 2006 transitional constitution established a system composed of a bicameral legislature. It consists of a Senate (108 seats) and National Assembly. The National Assembly has 500 deputies representing 169 circonscriptions across the country's 11 provinces. The executive is concomitantly undertaken by a President and the government, led by a Prime Minister, appointed from the party with the majority at the National Assembly. The government, not the president, is responsible to the parliament. The National Assembly meets from 15 March-15 June and 15 September-15 December. Of particular interest for the national immunization program is the Permanent Commission Economique et Financiere and the Special Commission Socio-Culturelle.
The new constitution also granted new powers to the provincial governments with the creation of provincial parliaments, which have oversight over the governor, head of the provincial government, whom they elect. DR Congo has 11 provincial parliaments.
Section I, Articles 42 and 47 of the Constitution (2006) obliges the State to guarantee the health of every Congolese child.
Section VII, Article 204 of the Constitution empowers provinces to organize basic health services, including immunization campaigns.
Showcasing DRC's Progress in 2013
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- May 2012: Sabin sponsored peer exchangers from DRC to attend a costing (cMYP revision) workshop in Douala for Central African countries, hosted by WHO/UNICEF/AMP/Sabin.
- June 2012: Sabin sponsored peer exchangers from DRC to attend legislative workshop held in Antananarivo, Madagascar, which discussed the immunization law draft presented by the EPI Program of Madagascar.
- Agusut 2012: SIF SPO Helene Mambu-Ma-Disu attended the review of DRC's comprehensive Multi-Year-Plan (cMYP) for immunization for 2011-2015 in Matadi.
- November 2012: Organized and held a "Workshop on Legislative and Financial Strategies for Immunization" in Kinshasa, during which peers from 6 countries presented, discussed and reviewed their legislative projects and elaborated strategies on how to advance these drafts to the next stage.
- January 2013: A number of meetings were held in Kinshasa to revise the Immunization law proposal.
- February 2013: SIF SPO Helene Mambu-Ma-Disu and Honorable Gregoire Kiro attended the EPI Manager's Meeting for Central African countries in Douala, Cameroon. Honorable Kiro presented the activities carried out by the DRC Parliament to strengthen the immunization program.