Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Democratic Republic of Congo

The final country that AFCA works in that I’ll briefly introduce is the Democratic Republic of Congo. The DRC has been riddled with violence ever since its independence in 1960 (originally Congo, the country was renamed Zaire in the 1970’s and then became the DRC in 1997). Refugees from the Rwandan genocide flooded into the country and eventually the DRC found itself in the midst of a five year war that has been referred to as ‘Africa’s World War’. The violence is still present and rape has been a major issue. Last year a UN official actually called the DRC the ‘rape capital of the world.’ The adult HIV prevalence rate is around 1.3% and many studies suggest that this number is on the rise. The effects of the conflict in the region are mostly apparent in the poverty and lack of access to proper resources. USAID says that approximately 70% of the population does not have adequate access to health care. Women have been disproportionately affected due to the sexual violence that has occurred. Additionally there is a big orphan population in the country (around 8.2 million) who could be at risk for contracting the virus and according to a study done in 2009 in the DRC around one million of these children have been orphaned due to AIDS (see the USAID document for more on this). 
I’d recommend the BBC website for basic information on the conflict in the region ( and USAID and UNAIDS for information on the HIV/AIDS problem in the region ( (

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