Congo-Brazzaville Project Description

Originally published
Description of Proposed Program


The International Rescue Committee arrived in Congo-Brazzaville with an initial emergency team responding to an appeal from the United Nations in November 1997. IRC intends to continue providing assistance to the most affected people throughout the transition to normal living -- a period forecast to be between 1 and 3 years. The broad public health and community services program proposed by IRC will be based in Brazzaville, with the majority of our resources concentrated in the generally less-affluent and densely populated Talangaï district. We have several interrelated projects within this domain of intervention:=A0
  • Rehabilitation of Talangaï Hospital and three health centers
  • Emergency Water and Sanitation Works
  • "Women's Wellness" Program
  • Medical Services for Returning Refugees
  • Children's Care in Kintele Camp
  • Community services for Urban refugees
IRC always works closely with existing local structures and local NGOs. We anticipate that our direct intervention work will be phased out by the end of 1998; the remaining program will be one of support, training and capacity building for responsible local organizations.

Rehabilitation of Health Structures in Talangaï

IRC began work at Talangaï Hospital in November 1997, to ensure a continuing supply of drugs and pharmacy supervision after the departure of Medicins du Monde. Additional drug supplies were donated by Agip. Emergency sanitation and construction works were funded by ECHO and UNHCR to ensure that the hospital could resume its life-saving work.=A0

The needs of Talangaï Hospital go much deeper than this. It has a history of problems pre-dating the war including weak management and poorly motivated staff. IRC has already developed good working relationships and during 1998 we propose to support the regeneration of Talangaï Hospital as a leading service provider within the Brazzaville public health system.=A0

With this overall objective, IRC will be working in the following areas:=A0
  • Management and Administration. Talangaï hospital has many highly trained medical staff but the needy people who require services do not gain all the benefit of that training. IRC is working alongside hospital management staff as they work for change in attitudes and working practices to realize their full potential.
  • Pharmacy Support. Drug control has been a problem throughout Brazzaville and Talangaï Hospital has a particularly bad reputation. The pharmacy is a critical function which is proving most resistant to much needed change. IRC is training the staff and facilitating the introduction of drug controls in conjunction with the Ministry of Health.
  • Equipment. Much of the hospital's equipment was looted or damaged during the war and must be replaced. IRC is working alongside hospital management to qualify and prioritize needs, to help present these needs to donors and ensure that donated equipment is properly used and maintained.
  • Physical Rehabilitation. Rehabilitation work is needed throughout the hospital. IRC is working with the hospital staff to identify, qualify and prioritize needs. The most urgent repairs are already underway, and IRC is presently seeking donors to support an ongoing program of works throughout the remainder of the year.
  • Community Health Services. Talangaï Hospital has a role as part of the overall public health system to provide support to health centers and health posts. IRC is working with the hospital to help it realize its full potential for collaboration with the primary health care facilities in its locality.
In addition to this support for Talangaï Hospital, IRC also has funds from UNHCR to rehabilitate and support three health centers or health posts in the Talangaï district. We are coordinating with the Ministry of Health and with other intervening agencies to select the most needy recipients.=A0
Emergency Water and Sanitation Works=A0

Public water supplies are now restored to their pre-war levels in most parts of Talangaï, but there still remain urgent needs. Especially amongst the vulnerable populations, including malnourished children, who have suffered most through the war and who now even more susceptible to disease. IRC will be working alongside local authorities during the first three months of the year to address the most urgent remaining water and sanitation needs, including a public health education campaign to ensure correct storage of water. This work is funded by OFDA (U.S. Government).=A0

Women's Wellness Program=A0

The IRC Women's program is entitled "Women's Wellness" because it will provide an integrated response to many needs expressed by women during this difficult post-war phase. Many women suffered sexual violence during the war and many of the groups which previously offered support are not yet functioning. IRC will work with health structures and community groups to help re-establish a coordinated and holistic campaign including reproductive health, support groups for victims of sexual violence and micro-enterprise schemes for women wishing to make a new start in business. This program will be supported by the Irish Government and UNFPA.=A0

Repatriation Medical Services=A0

IRC and Talangaï Hospital are providing a health post at the port for repatriating refugees, together with transportation for sick and vulnerable returnees. This work is funded by UNHCR.=A0

Children's Care in Kintele Camp=A0

IRC has been approached by UNICEF and UNHCR to supervise the care of unaccompanied minors amongst the Rwandan refugees at Kintele camp. We will liaise closely with tracing agencies in Rwanda and help the children to make informed decisions about whether or not to return home.=A0

Community Services for Urban Refugees=A0

Prior to the war, there were several thousand urban refugees living in Brazzaville. UNHCR provided a range of social services for the most vulnerable amongst this caseload. IRC is currently assessing their post-war needs and may work with UNHCR to ensure the provision of essential services.=A0

International Rescue Committee=A0

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) was founded by Albert Einstein in 1933 to rescue European Jews from persecution by Hitler. Now it is one of the oldest and largest nonsectarian NGOs, helping millions of victims of war and oppression throughout the world. With programs in 25 countries, IRC has skills and experience in every sector of intervention. Our work is funded by many different international donors including the United Nations, Government of the United States of America, European Union, and other governments and private foundations.=A0

International Headquarters:
122 East 42nd Street, New York 10168, USA.
Tel: +1 212 551 3000
Fax: +1 212 551 3185

For questions or more information, please contact:

Gerald Martone
Director of Emergency Response
International Rescue Committee
West and Southern Africa
122 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10168-1289

Mariana Zantop
Program Assistant
International Rescue Committee
West and Southern Africa
122 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10168-1289

(212) 551-3062
(212) 551-3185 Fax
(212) 551-3061