Democratic Republic of Congo
Decades of armed conflict, economic unrest and public health crises have left nearly 20 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in need of humanitarian assistance. More than 5 million people are internally displaced and there is widespread sexual violence against women and girls. Ipas DRC, in partnership with community-based organizations, is working to ensure that reproductive health care—including abortion and contraception—is available to women and girls affected by these crises.
Photography by Ley Uwera for Ipas
It’s often said that the provision of abortion in crisis settings is not logistically possible or effective, but that is not the case, says Dr. Jean-Claude Mulunda, director of Ipas DRC. “When the right information and services are made available, women and girls in such settings can absolutely have safe abortion care.”
Dr. Michael Mboma
“The need for abortion and contraceptive services in crisis settings is a reality, one only needs to see it,” says Dr. Michael Mboma.“ But these services often are not considered essential or a priority.”
Dr. Mboma is head of the emergency gynecology department at Kinshasa General Referral Hospital, shown here. He also provides care at an Ipas-supported “one stop” center which provides abortion and contraception for those who need it, including internally displaced people living in Kinshasa.
If safe abortion services are not available to women and girls who want to end a pregnancy resulting from rape, Dr. Mboma says, some will resort to unsafe methods and end up losing their lives.
Ipas gratefully acknowledges the support of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development in the collection of these stories.
Every crisis is different. Our varied solutions recognize that.
Through a variety of different programs and approaches, we’re proving that reproductive health care can be made accessible during an acute crisis and in the years that follow.
Training health workers in Rohingya refugee camps
Providing health information and care to Venezuelan migrants
Partnering with community groups and health workers during civil war
Partnering with refugees to protect against COVID and ensure health-care access
Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia
Coordinating a response after cyclones and flooding
Reaching people through the private sector when public health systems shut down