Fighting malnutrition for DRC’s most vulnerable children 

A mother and her child visit a health and nutrition center in DRC. Photo: OCHA

DRC | 2023 | CBPF 

DRC, North Kivu. Kahindu lives in a small village. She and her family fled here to escape violence back in 2022. 

In 2023, the conflict in DRC was getting even worse, displacing nearly 6.4 million people primarily from the eastern provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, and South Kivu. It is one of the highest displacement crises globally (figures as of August 2023).

Despite its vast agricultural potential, a staggering 25.4 million people in the DRC – or one in every four Congolese – are severely food insecure. 

When she fled her home, Kahindu was in the early stages of her pregnancy, and she thought she was expecting twins. But, in February last year, she gave birth to three babies: Pierre, Pierrette, and Ursule. 

Kahindu and her husband survived on small earnings from informal agricultural work. But violence meant they were unable to return to their home. By the time the triplets were seven months old, Kahindu was worried about baby Ursule. 

“Ursule was not developing like the other two. She had difficulty feeding, and she didn’t seem to be gaining weight; I found her different from her siblings.”  

During a home visit conducted as part of malnutrition screening activities, Rachel, a community health worker trained by Congolese NGO Action of the Future (AOF), with support from the DRC Humanitarian Fund, spoke with Kahindu, and agreed that Ursule was showing signs of malnutrition.  

“I was going door-to-door, and that’s how I came to Kahindu’s house to do the screening. I quickly recommended that the mother take Ursule to the health centre for care.”  

The Oicha health facility provides free care for nutritional emergency cases  with the support of AOF’s Emergency Nutrition Response project. This helps displaced people, returnees, and host families in five of Oicha’s health districts in North Kivu. It is funded by the DRC Humanitarian Fund. 

After about two months of treatment and follow-up, Ursule regained her health. “Thanks to the healthcare, she is alive and well today. She has even started walking,” said her mother, Kahindu.

For more information about the DRC Humanitarian Fund