Online Program

Lessons learned from 40 years of developing health systems and universal health care with faith-based networks in DR Congo

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 4:30 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.

Franklin C. Baer, MHS-TM, DrPH, SANRU & IMA World Health, Harrisonburg, VA
In 1975, the MOH of Zaire (now DR Congo) and its faith-based partners established the vision to collaboratively develop a decentralized primary health care system. That vision, implemented, in part, through the SANRU Basic Rural Health project, led to 306 decentralized health zones (HZs) with 50% managed by faith-based partners. SANRU’s approach to “Health for All and by All” increased PHC access in project-assisted HZs from 15% (1982) to 50% (1987). Today, that system has grown to 516 health zones.

Over the years DRC’s decentralized HZ system has endured significant and continuing geographic, infrastructural, political, and post-conflict obstacles. More recently, that system, coupled with renewed efforts to achieve UHC, has achieved significant increases in access to and utilization of key health services, (e.g., immunization coverage for DPT3 is currently more than 90%).

This presentation will identify key factors, events and lessons learned that contributed to developing and sustaining DR Congo’s decentralized health zone (HZ) system as a platform to achieve UHC. For example:

-          Bottom-up development of geographically-flexible health zones;

-          Pioneering and precedent-setting roles by faith-based managed HZs;

-          HZs as a “middle-out” development platform;

-          Affiliation of HZ management teams to reference hospitals; and

HZs as a sustainability factor during times of conflict.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Identify and explain approaches and lessons learned from DR Congo in health systems development to achieve universal health coverage.

Keyword(s): Health Care Delivery, Faith Community

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a senior advisor to IMA World Health and Vice-President of SANRU focusing on the planning, implementation and supervision of health systems development projects, especially those including between faith-based health networks and their collaboration within national health systems. I am qualified to give this presentation because I have worked for 40+ years in developing decentralized PHC systems with the “universal” objective of “Health for All and by All”.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.