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Abt Convenes Local Stakeholders to Address Health Needs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Abt's work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is laying the groundwork for local governments to prioritize decision-making and spending on health services. In the mining-rich Lualaba province, the Abt-led USAID Integrated Health Program (USAID IHP) is facilitating domestic resource mobilization.

One of USAID IHP's roles is to coordinate and finance quarterly meetings for the provincial health district and donors to share information on local health needs. In mid-2019, the program recommended involving decentralized territorial entities within the province and local mining companies in these pivotal discussions, since cities, communes, and chiefdoms receive national and provincial tax revenues and mining revenues, and are constitutionally responsible for health care in their locations.

Local public and private sector representatives responded: At the September 2019 meeting hosted by Lualaba's health minister, participants included the head of the Luilu chiefdom; the mayors of Manika, Dilala, and Fungurume; the chief of Bunkeya; and representatives of three mining companies. These meetings have since evolved into a multi-sectoral framework for collaboration to support health needs, formalized in February 2020 through an official agreement among all stakeholders on roles and responsibilities.

By mid-2020, this framework had funneled more than $1.1 million to communities, including more than $500,000 for local health spending. The results include new emergency room equipment, a fence for the Kapata Health Center, and new toilets at the Kanina Health Referral Center. One municipality helped pay for the construction of a morgue and an ambulance. The Lualaba chiefdom built toilet facilities and an antenatal care ward.

In Lualaba province, USAID IHP's support for annual operational planning led authorities in the town of Fungurume to approve additional health investments. Mayor Christian Mukunto committed $684,500 from mining royalties to help pay for several 2020 activities. These include construction of a general referral hospital and a health center in Kasolondo, installation of 15 drinking fountains, motorbikes for supervision, and a sanitation brigade.

In late 2020, USAID IHP will convene a meeting among Lualaba leaders and neighboring provinces to share lessons and best practices for scaling up local resource mobilization.

Sub-Saharan Africa
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