DRC Ravaged by War: Health System in Eastern Areas in Crisis
Kanako Mita, Sawako Utsumi, and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
An array of horrendous problems blights the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), notably concerning the country’s eastern parts. Ethnic, political, and religious conflict naturally leads to internal displacement at a time when so many health issues exist.
The Senior Emergency Officer of the World Health Organization (WHO) – Dr. Jorge Castilla – notified the media that 7.4 million people require health assistance concerning the ongoing conflicts in eastern areas.
In the provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, and South Kivu, nearly three million people have fled the ongoing conflicts since early 2022.
UN News reports, “The country’s health system is under huge pressure due to overlapping outbreaks of Covid-19, measles, polio, mpox. Yellow fever, cholera and malaria are on the rise due to recurrent natural disasters and lack of access to safe water and sanitation for those on the move, said WHO.”
Two thousand deaths have been reported in the first six months of 2023 from measles. The majority of deaths occurred in North Kivu and South Kivu. At the same time, over 24,000 Cholera cases have been reported – leading to 156 fatalities.
President Joe Biden of America and other nations are supporting Ukraine to the tune of endless tens of billions in military arms – and other forms of economic assistance.
Yet, as UN News reports, “Of the $174 million required to provide urgent health assistance, only $23 million (13 percent) has been mobilized so far…”
The UN high commissioner for human rights (Volker Türk) said, “The armed groups, M23, ADF, CODECO, Zaire and Nyatura, continue to carry out egregious attacks against the civilian population and they do this with full impunity.”
He said, “The targeted violence endured by civilians in the conflict-affected areas include sexual violence, sexual violence of extreme brutality. This has historically been used as a deliberate weapon in the DRC and as a strategy of terror.”
With 5.8 million internally displaced people in the DRC – and one million refugees from other nations blighted by conflict – major health concerns are naturally increasing.
It remains to be seen if a solution can be found that stabilizes the dire situation.
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