Congo in times of the
Covid 19 pandemic
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the second largest country in Africa with an area of 2,345,409 km² and a population of 84 million inhabitants. The capital is the province of Kinshasa – a megacity with 11.5 million inhabitants.
According to UNDP statistics, the unemployment rate in Congo is 43 percent, there is a low level of development, and the country ranks 179th out of 189 countries and territories. More than 70 percent of Congolese people live on less than one US dollar per person per day, given enormous differences between population groups.
In addition to this human tragedy on an economic level, the Democratic Republic of Congo has been drained by a long period of war and consequent impoverishment of the population.
Health disasters have not spared the state in the heart of Africa, including – until recently –the epidemic of the EBOLA virus. This has claimed countless victims, given the precarious situation in the temporary health centres and the lack of a uniform control strategy.
Today, Congo, hit by the reality described here, is facing the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. The virus reached the capital Kinshasa in mid-March 2020.
In this context, the situation of the weakest and most vulnerable sections of the population requires special attention – especially those in rural and urban communities: young people, women, the elderly, orphans and street children. So far, however, no concrete measures appear to have been taken to help them.
Recently, products such as hydro-alcoholic gel (disinfectant) have seen prices rise by more than 400 percent. This makes them an inaccessible luxury good for large parts of the population.
In addition, the wearing of protective masks has been compulsory in the densely populated areas of Kinshasa since April 20, 2020. However, the people there hardly know how to get the masks. The vast majority of health care facilities and medical staff do not have protective masks either.
Coercive measures increase the nutritional and financial insecurity of certain population groups as a result of the curfew. Those most affected are students in their dormitories, residents of orphanages and old people's homes, farmers, people with disabilities, unemployed young people.