Posted by Share-Net NL on July 29, 2014 at 9:46 am
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) represents one of the greatest demographic challenges of our time. With a natural increase of 2.8% a year, the Sub- Saharan African country’s population of more than 69 million inhabitants will double by 2037.1 The problems of rapid population growth are nowhere more evident than in Kinshasa, the DRC’s capital: The province of Kinshasa has an estimated current population of approximately 10 million living in an expanse of 3,847 square miles.2 On the Family Planning Program Effort Index, the assessment of the strength of family planning programs that was last conducted in 2009, the DRC ranked in the bottom 10% of countries worldwide.3 The DRC’s National Program for Reproductive Health—the government office charged with coordinating and overseeing family planning —has lacked the human and financial resources to effectively carry out its role. As of 2011, at least 10 local and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) were providing some type of family planning service delivery in Kinshasa; however, each tended to work in isolation. Although these groups have worked diligently to attain their own project objectives, there was no coordinated effort to collectively increase contraceptive prevalence in Kinshasa. This special report presents a case study of a promising model for increasing contraceptive availability in Kinshasa, which could be replicated in other large cities in the DRC and elsewhere in the region.