Advocating for quality healthcare and working conditions in DRC

The health workers’ union, SOLSICO, organized a public discussion forum on health in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). More than 150 participants from government, health unions, employers, international organisations and civil society discussed three themes: the health system in the DRC and its challenges, the right to health, and the determinants of health.

At the opening session of the forum, the representative of the Minister of Health recognised and appreciated the initiative of SOLSICO as demonstrating concern for improving the health system, for the well-being of the population as well as the conditions of work of health personnel.

Stimulating discussions on how to address challenges posed by severe gaps in human resources for health, sectorial governance, health infrastructure and equipment, essential medicines, and health information featured in various sessions of the forum.

The union identified key elements related to these issues, such as: demotivation of healthcare professionals due to low wages; the low budget allocated to health, which is capped at 4.2%, (i.e. 0.7% of GNP and moreover, the implementation rate on this basis has never exceeded 60%); misappropriation of funds for hospitals and health centres; inadequate concern of government for rehabilitating dilapidated health infrastructure and expansion; the lack of protective equipment for health professionals; the lack of medicines and their questionable quality; poor working conditions, and inadequate non-wage incentives.

The government welcomed participants’ critical observations, and took note of several recommendations made. There was a general expression of the need for a follow-up meeting and for such meetings to become a regular platform for the social dialogue, partnership and cooperation required in the Democratic Republic of Congo, working for health and leaving no one behind.

This article is an extract from the “Right to Health” newsletter issue 03/2017. Subscribe to the newsletter. Send us your stories.