Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Almost 73% of Congolese people live on less than $1.90/day
  • Approximately 27.3 million people are food insecure 
  • Due to a lack of health care, the average Congolese person lives to only 60 years of age
  • 70% of Congolese are estimated to have little or no access to health care
  • 1 million Congolese did not receive treatment for their neglected tropical disease

In the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), leprosy and complications of lymphatic filariasis are pervasive. There is a severe shortage of healthcare workers and clinics due to security reasons. As a result, patients often go without adequate care, and that leads to severe and permanent disabilities.

Parents with leprosy-related disabilities struggle to find work. With a heavy reliance on farming for survival, disability due to leprosy, prevents them from work. Because of this, families affected by leprosy suffer from extreme poverty. Children are forced to work, leaving very few choices for their future.

The stigma of leprosy is still rampant in these communities where leprosy is seen as a curse. Those living with obvious disability are excluded and their families pushed to the outer edges of the community. Mental health is a major public health challenge. We need your help to train healthcare workers to engage with the communities, helping families and neighbors understand that leprosy can be cured.

Programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Mental Health and Neglected Tropical Diseases in Kasai, DR Congo

In this region, many villages are endemic for leprosy and lymphatic filariasis. Because of limited awareness about leprosy and lymphatic filariasis, many cases are found too late, leaving affected individuals with disabilities.

Misconceptions about the neglected tropical diseases causes extreme discrimination. People are isolated and moved to the fringes of society. This has a serious impact on the mental health of the people. Our partners are working hard to educate the health workers and the family members those affected. 

You can help with community education, early detection and treatment of leprosy, lymphatic filariasis and other neglected tropical diseases to prevent disability. Your gifts help provide mental health supports, locally-made protective assistive devices such as prosthetics and shoes, and fund micro-businesses. With your help, we can stop these diseases before they exact a heavy price. 

    Photos From the Field