Mortality, violence and lack of access to healthcare in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Disasters. 2003 Jun;27(2):141-53. doi: 10.1111/1467-7717.00225.


The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo for decades have been living in a situation of chronic crisis. Violence, population displacement and the destruction of infrastructure and health services have devastated the health of the population. In 2001, Médicins Sans Frontières conducted a survey in five areas of western and central DRC to assess mortality, access to health-care, vaccination coverage and exposure to violence. High mortality rates were found in front-line zones, mainly due to malnutrition and infectious diseases. In Basankusu approximately 10 per cent of the total population and 25 per cent of the under-five population had perished in the year before the survey. Humanitarian needs remain acute across the country, particularly near the front line. Infectious-disease control and treatment are a priority, as is increasing access to health-care. Humanitarian assistance must be increased considerably, especially in rural areas and zones that have been affected directly by conflict.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Altruism
  • Cause of Death
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Priorities
  • Health Services Accessibility / standards*
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mortality*
  • Needs Assessment / organization & administration*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Refugees
  • Relief Work
  • Rural Health
  • Vaccination / standards
  • Violence / prevention & control
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Warfare