The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4141.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - 12:30 PM

Abstract #51431

Why Health Zones Continue to Survive in DR Congo?

Leon Ngoma M. Kintaudi, MD, MPH, Medical Office, Protestant Church of Congo, Ave. de la Justice, Kinshasa-Gombe, Congo-Kinshasa, 243-98271814,

Decentralized health zones have been the organizational unit for primary health care in DR Congo since 1975. A health zone is a well-defined geographical area comprising a referral hospital, satellite health centers and community action groups. A typical health zone in DR Congo includes a hospital, 20 health centers, 200 villages to serve 150,000 people.

Given the problems of the past decade, it is remarkable that the health zone structure continues to exist and function in the midst of political, economic and military crisis, even in rebel held areas of Congo. Here are several reasons why health zones continue to survive in DR Congo:

1) The health zone concept is firmly based on a the “Alma Ata” comprehensive approach to primary health care that includes a minimum package of activities;

2) Health Zones were geographically defined from the bottom-up with respect to the existing infrastructure of governmental and NGO managed hospitals, not strictly along administrative boundaries. This consensus-building process firmly established “ownership” and leadership of health zones at the local level;

3) Planning and management of health zones are strongly decentralized in collaboration with partner projects. This helps to avoid a duplication of services between public and private health facilities and improves coordination among development partners operating within the same health zone;

4) Approximately 50% of health zones are managed or co-managed by NGOs, especially those of the protestant and catholic health services.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this presentation, the participants will be able to

Keywords: Health Care Delivery, Nursing Education

Related Web page:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Rebuilding Primary Health Care and Health Zones in DR Congo

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA