• Where We Work

    Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continues to face acute and complex humanitarian crises characterized by internal displacement and widespread insecurity. According to the World Bank, the mortality rate for children under-five remains one of the highest in the world at 62 deaths per 1,000 live births (2021). These causes of death, often preventable, are aggravated by high rates of malnutrition, lack of access to clean water and gender-based violence (GBV).

Since 2000, IMA World Health (IMA) has been a key partner in the DRC’s development and humanitarian response, working alongside the Congolese government, development partners, and local and international organizations to revitalize the health system, improve WASH outcomes and fight disease. Through long-standing relationships with the Ministry of Health and a robust faith-based network, IMA has provided direct assistance in 251 health zones, consistently and distinctively operating in the country’s most remote and challenging areas where successive armed conflicts and political instability have demanded creativity and unparalleled local partnership. With such expansive geographic coverage and enduring linkages with the government and local authorities, IMA’s long-term investment in the DRC is working to change the narrative and the trajectory of health care.

Project Highlights
Essential Services for Maternal and Child Health Programme in DRC (SEMI)

The SEMI project builds on a decade of health system strengthening investment by UK Aid in the DRC through the IMA-implemented ASSP and ASSR projects. Since 2014, IMA has been working to increase access to and quality of primary health care. In project areas, close to 100% of pregnant women now deliver at health centers compared to 62% in 2014. The FCDO-funded SEMI project focuses on improving access to essential maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health services, promoting rights-based family planning services, and strengthening the health system in the areas of community governance, human resources for health, drug supply chain management, health information system quality and completeness, and public finance management. The SEMI project has supported 936,177 patients to receive curative services, 25,717 pregnant women received four doses of intermittent preventative treatment (IPT) for malaria during antenatal visits, and 52,882 deliveries (96% of all deliveries in Kasai province) were assisted by a skilled attendant.

Mass Distribution of Long-Lasting Insecticide-Treated Nets (LLINs) (3)

Funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFTAM), and in partnership with national NGO SANRU, IMA is implementing a third round of mass distribution initiatives to provide LLINs to all households in 5 provinces of the DRC. These initiatives have led to over 18.7 million LLINs being distributed since 2018, reaching about one-third of the DRC’s population across nine provinces. IMA continues to innovate and ensure high quality data collection from distributions and was the first organization in the DRC to leverage mobile technology to help the government and local partners track malaria incidence and maintain LLIN coverage. To support mass distribution campaigns, IMA recruits locally in each province to distribute LLINs and the subsequent follow up activities that ensure the correct quantity were distributed and nets are installed correctly.

Counter-Gender Based Violence Program (Tushinde Ujeuri)

Funded by USAID, the C-GBV project (Tushinde Ujeuri) supports communities in eastern DRC to prevent and respond to GBV with the goal of reducing violence, combatting stigma and improving holistic care for survivors. Building on the highly successful USAID-funded Ushindi program implemented by IMA (2010-2017), the C-GBV project provides urgent medical care, psychosocial counseling, legal support, and socioeconomic support (access to village savings and loan associations, literacy circles, and women’s empowerment groups) to help survivors gain financial independence and social support. Together, these activities restore health, dignity, justice and opportunity to survivors. To date, the project has reached close to 800,000 community members with GBV prevention information; more than 10,000 survivors have received psychosocial support; and more than 2,000 have received post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) Kits to prevent HIV following assault.

Post-Exposure Prophylaxis  (PEP)  Kit Procurement and Distribution

Funded by USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, IMA has procured and distributed PEP Kits in the DRC since 2018, improving the supply chain for PEP Kits in up to 16 provinces with a high prevalence of GBV. IMA employs a multi-pronged supply and distribution strategy which increases access, reduces stock-out, and reduces cost per kit through a cost-effective bulk procurement and local kitting solution. Through this approach, IMA has cumulatively purchased, kitted and distributed over 107,800 PEP Kits, dramatically increasing access to life saving medication for survivors of sexual violence. Complementarily, the project trains health care providers in GBV survivor care, supports PEP Kit administration, supply chain management, tracking and monitoring, and strengthened coordination among humanitarian actors and local partners.

Humanitarian Response

Through its longstanding presence in eastern DRC, IMA is well positioned to, and actively responds to humanitarian crises alongisde the Corus International family of organizations.

  • Nyiragongo Volcano response (May 2021): IMA responded to immediate needs of displaced individuals and overburdened health facilities, supplied essential medicines to four health facilities, and distributed 5,958 blankets and 45 water filtration systems.
  • Resurgence of armed conflict (June 2022): IMA responded to mass internal displacement by supporting six health facilities with essential medicines, medical equipment, infection prevention and control supplies, water filtration devices and blankets to improve access to quality primary health care for affected/displaced persons and host communities (16,380 individuals supported).
  • Cholera prevention (February 2023): Responding to continued internal displacement, IMA provides humanitarian assistance in the form of food and non-food distributions (including blankets), while supplying essential medicines and building latrines and showers to improve WASH situations and support cholera prevention.
Access to Primary Health Care (ASSP) and Access to Health Systems Support (ASSR)

During eight years of implementation, ASSP and its follow-on project ASSR improved the health of women, adolescents and children through support for disease prevention, delivery of health care and health systems strengthening. With funding from the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the projects supported an estimated 9.7 million people across 52 health zones in five provinces, strengthening the health system by focusing on priority interventions such as the treatment of malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea; nutrition; obstetric and neonatal care; family planning; immunization; and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Using an approach based on the World Health Organization’s six pillars of health systems strengthening, the projects collaborated with the Ministry of Health (MOH) at all levels of service delivery, including the national and provincial levels and with focused support to health zones, health facilities and communities. The projects allowed for 2.23 million births to be attended by skilled health personnel at health facilities. More than 13 million nets were hung through bed net campaigns. 286 health centers were built, including 109 newly constructed health centers during ASSP. 4.78 million children were screened for malnutrition and over 1.35 million pregnant women and children under five received direct and intensive nutrition interventions. Additionally, the projects promoted and strengthened the open-source health data management system DHIS2 to improve data dissemination and to improve decision-making for health service delivery.

Ebola: Strengthening Community Prevention, Response and Recovery

IMA’s leadership in the 2018-2020 Ebola outbreak response included delivery of nearly $1 million in personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline healthcare workers, the establishment of 78 Ebola triage and isolation units, and installation of water supply and hygiene systems at 164 health clinics. Funded by USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), IMA’s Ebola Virus Disease in North Kivu and Ituri: Strengthening Community Prevention, Response, and Recovery project supported community-based prevention and response in 25 of the most affected health areas, where more than 387,000 people were at risk. This included extensive training in community-based surveillance and training more than 1,000 religious and community leaders on Ebola messaging, a key strategy for building community trust.

Further, IMA and its partners ensured the continuity of essential health services during this severe, prolonged humanitarian crisis. IMA continued to support Ebola containment and recover with the Ebola Virus Disease in DRC: Strengthening Community Prevention, Response, and Recovery project. IMA led a comprehensive Ebola prevention and response program in 10 health zones of eastern DRC that addressed the issues of insufficient health services, lack of trust in the response and in communication around the disease, and inadequate prevention and control measures. IMA’s multi-pronged program addressed urgent needs to end the Ebola epidemic and prevent its resurgence through community outreach and mobilization, social and behavior change communications in schools and places of worship, health facility-based infection prevention and control, WASH and waste management in health facilities, and a “wrap around” strategy which provided critical training, supplies, and support to implement a primary healthcare (PHC) package addressing leading drivers of maternal and child mortality.

Health Care Services for Vulnerable Populations and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

With funding from USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), IMA worked with longtime local partner SANRU to provide primary health care services free of charge to IDPs and other destabilized populations within the conflict-affected Kasai provinces in DRC, with an estimated target population of 1,689,561. Health care services were provided in 125 health centers. In total, 1,000,039 new patients received treatment, and despite insecurity, many health targets were met or exceeded thanks to the resilience and dedication of health workers IMA has supported through ongoing health systems strengthening programs. Diagnosis and treatment of diarrhea was provided to more than 93,000 patients, to over 560,000 patients for malaria, and to more than 152,000 patients with acute respiratory infections.

Greater Kasai Health Care and Food Security Recovery Plan

With funding from USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), the Greater Kasai Health Care and Food Security Recovery Plan in DRC project addressed key challenges in health care and food security resulting from conflicts in Kasai and Kasai Central provinces of DRC. Its multi-pronged approach targeted key areas for recovery and resilience, including food security, health care and related water, sanitation and hygiene improvements. Collaborating with longtime local partner SANRU, IMA worked to restore the functionality of health facilities that were burned and/or looted, including replacing lost equipment and rehabilitating WASH infrastructure. The program also sought to build financial sustainability in the health system and lessen undue burden on already vulnerable populations with a gradual transition back to user fees for health services, as well as support vulnerable households facing food insecurity by assisting families in food production and linkages to markets.


The ENVISION project, funded by USAID and led by RTI International, aimed to empower governments of endemic countries to lead NTD control programs and scale up the delivery of preventive chemotherapy for the seven most common NTDs. In the DRC, as an implementing partner, IMA supported the DRC NTD control program to conduct annual MDA of three medications, reaching more than 500,000 people in six zones in northern Maniema Province in 2015-2016 and in three zones in 2017, with the goal of treating 80 percent of the population for LF, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis and STH. Transitioning with USAID’s updated strategy for DRC in 2018, IMA conducted rapid assessments and mapping surveys to find the extent of trachoma in suspected regions of the country.

A Congolese nurse with a mask and blue scrubs presents outdoors in front of a group of seated women who are in masks and many have infants on their laps

The Corus Effect

Founded in 1960, IMA World Health is part of Corus International, an ensemble of long-serving, global leaders in international development and humanitarian assistance committed to ending poverty and building healthy communities across Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Africa.

In addition to IMA World Health, the Corus family includes global aid and development organization Lutheran World Relief, U.K.-based technology for development company CGA Technologies, impact investing firm Ground Up Investing, and direct trade company Farmers Market Brands.

Alongside communities and local partners in fragile settings, our dedicated experts across our organizations integrate disciplines, approaches and resources to overcome global health challenges, develop productive and stable economies, improve resilience in the face of climate change, and respond to natural disasters and humanitarian crises. We invest in solutions that are innovative, scalable, holistic and move the needle towards transformational change.

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