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ICAP Expands Work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

September 4, 2011

A former school building in Kinshasa is home to an ICAP office in the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The country team, led by Faustin Malele, MD, began supporting adult and pediatric HIV care and treatment services in April 2010 with a focus on integrating HIV and tuberculosis (TB) services at four hospitals and 20 TB clinics and health centers.

The World Health Organization estimates that 400,000 to 500,000 Congolese citizens are HIV-infected. Higher rates of HIV are found in Kinshasa and in the eastern provinces and among pregnant women–approximately four percent of pregnant women are infected with HIV. Tuberculosis has also been problematic in the country; DRC ranks as the tenth highest TB burdened country in the world, and the country has lacked a system for integrating TB screening and treatment into the broader scope of HIV services despite the fact that eight percent of TB cases are estimated to be HIV-infected.

Now with a home base from which team members can work, ICAP is supporting efforts to rehabilitate and renovate site and laboratory infrastructure, and expand HIV care and treatment services, which include related nutritional support and TB/HIV coinfection services and procurement of antiretroviral treatments and supplies. As of June 2011, 2,163 people living in the DRC received counseling and testing services–66 percent were women and 13 percent were HIV-positive. Additionally, 79 percent of all TB patients seen at ICAP-supported sites have had an HIV test result and 30 health care workers have completed an in-service training program.

Supported by the DRC’s Ministry of Health, ICAP’s team is beginning work on prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) services, in accordance with the DRC’s national goal to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV. ICAP is also beginning activities to expand HIV care and treatment services in the southeast Congolese city of Lubumbashi.