DR Congo

Team arrives in D.R. Congo for fifth IRC mortality survey

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International Rescue Committee headquarters staff and researchers from the Burnet Institute in Australia have arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo to finalize preparations for the fifth nationwide mortality survey, which will cover the period from January 2006 to April 2007.

Starting next week, five teams consisting of 16 primary researchers and 105 Congolese health workers will survey the population in 31 randomly selected health zones across all of D.R. Congo's eleven provinces. A total of 12,400 households are expected to be interviewed about war-related mortality in the course of the next two months.

"This study will be important in documenting how effective foreign assistance, as well as political and security developments, have been in addressing humanitarian needs in the Congo," says the director of the IRC's health unit, Dr. Rick Brennan, who heads the survey.

To date, the IRC has played a key role in documenting the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis in Congo through a series of four mortality surveys. The latest survey, conducted in 2004, is among the largest ever conducted in a conflict zone and was published in the British medical journal The Lancet. It has since been widely cited by key humanitarian and advocacy agencies, the media and in academic literature. The survey found that more than 3.9 million people have died as a result of the conflict from August 1998 to April 2004, with 98 percent of deaths being due to easily preventable and curable diseases.