In late October, Vitamin Angels convened a summit in Kananga, Kasai Central Province, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) bringing together the leaders from more than 30 of the organization’s local non-governmental organization (NGO) partners (field partners). DRC government health officials including Dr. Misenga, Head of the Provincial Division of Health (HPDH), and Dr. Tshibuabua, the Chief Advisor for the Provincial Minister of Health also attended. The event was moderated by Dr. Mulamba Diese, Consultant, Program Advisor for Vitamin Angels.
The summit was intended to strengthen relationships among Vitamin Angels’ field partners by providing them with opportunities to share common experiences regarding micronutrient supplementation and deworming, and to identify opportunities to expand their reach and build capacity. Additionally, Vitamin Angels sought to encourage more dialogue between local NGOs and the Provincial Division of Health in order to improve cooperation, which is crucial to sustainable program expansion in the DRC.
Providing the government’s perspective on the current public health situation within the Kasai Central Province, Dr. Misenga briefed attendees on up-to-date statistics on malnutrition and infant mortality and the government’s own vitamin A supplementation and deworming efforts in the area.
“Kasai Central Province is among one of the provinces which has the highest level of malnutrition and relative low coverage of Vitamin A and deworming (VAS+D) services,” said Dr. Diese. “The NGOs and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) that work in the community bring valuable services to areas that the government is unable to reach.”
With an estimated 61% of preschool age children considered vitamin A deficient in the DRC, expansion of program services in the country is a priority for Vitamin Angels. The organization is projecting reaching close to 7 million children with vitamin A and albendazole by the end of 2017.
To learn about Vitamin Angels’ partnership model or apply for a micronutrient grant, visit vitaminangels.org/field-partners.