Highlights of September/October 2018 Trip to the DRC

  1. Implementation of the 2018 Integrated Mass Drug Administration (MDA) Activities:

    Training of the Trainers: Annual training and retraining by UFAR technical staff in company of a representative of the DRC Ministry of Health was carried out for 13 of 15 regional projects supported by UFAR and our partners. For each project participants included the medical director and two nurse supervisors per health zone, the head of provincial health division and the entire project coordination staff - totaling between 20 an 50 participants. Across three days the technical, financial, and logistical aspects of the annual MDA campaign were reviewed.

  2. Morbidity Management and Disability Prevention: Hydrocele and Lymphedema: The first set of historical hydrocele surgeries in the DRC under this program were performed on three patients in the UFAR-supported Katanga-Sud project region on September 26.

  3. The Expert Committee for Elimination of Onchocerciasis in the DRC was established on September 5. This committee will review annual results until it is able to declare that Riverblindness has been eliminated.

  4. Issues: Only two of the three drugs scheduled for mass distribution had actually arrived in the DRC. Mectizan (for Riverblindness) and Albendazole have arrived, but Praziquantel has not. Distribution of the first two is underway. This may require a second round of distribution to some or all areas.


Highlights of July 2016 Trip to the Katanga South region of the DRC

This report provides the highlights on a visit of the Katanga-sud project, during the time between the end of the 2015 and the beginning of the 2016 integrated mass drug distribution for control and elimination of selected NTDs.   Mrs. Nancy Beatty, a UFAR supporter in charge of fundraising activities and social mobilization was Dr. Shungu throughout this trip.


a.      General Objective

Review the overall outcome of the 2015 campaign of integrated MDA of preventive chemoterapies against NTDs and determine the level of readiness for the 2016 campaign.

Visit and remittance of UFAR golden medal with UFAR logo to a few village chiefs, a reflection of our gratitude for their engagement in support of the program.


b.      Specific Objectives

                                                   i.      Random check of the 2015 treatment records for 2015 : registers, annual technical report, financial documents including receipts

                                                 ii.      Review the chronogram and discuss planned activities for 2016

                                               iii.      Discuss timely availability of drugs and adequacy of registers

                                               iv.      Visit and remittance of the UFAR  golden medal with the UFAR logo to couple of village chiefs


2.      METHODS

a.       Basic direct observation,  review of various documents including registers, discussion with medical staff, community leaders and community distributors

b.      Random check of treatment registers

c.       Discuss drug availability, storage, timing for delivery and distribution



a.       Air travel Kinshasa – Lubumbashi on 21 July 2016, accompanied by Mrs. Nancy Beatty,  arrived late evening, 10:30 PM.  Hired a taxi to Hotel Park.

b.      Completed the required formalities of meeting briefly with the provincial Minister of Health and/or cabinet members, 25 July 2016.

c.       Travelled to 2 villages during the following 2 days, including the village of Swamba  located at 50 km from Lubumbashi.

d.      Left Lubumbashi at 11 PMon 28 July 2016 and arriving in Kinshasa on 29 July 2016 at 2 AM.  Mrs. Beatty  made it to the airport for her 9 AM flight back to the US.


4.      RESULTS

a.       Dr Alice and her staff reserved us a very warm welcome, a hospital working environment and productive village visits.

b.      It was heart-breaking to find the wonderful, energetic, outgoing and strong partner, chief Ghislain Kapito of the village of Swamba with a serious post-op infection that had spread to both of his thigh bones.  Swamba is one of several villages that Nancy & Dick Beattyhave adopted for support under UFAR’s adopt/save-a-village program.

c.       With very few exceptions, data in most of the registers examined were properly entered.

d.      At the time of the visit, only 3 out of 1o health zones hadsufficient supply of Mecti from previous year to engage in the distribution

e.       Plans for 2016 were not in place at the time of the visit, however, people were looking forward to a timely delivery of the drugs and to the continued expension of integrated MDA activities and to maintaining or improving treatment coverage for each disease-drug combination.



a.       This project is supported by at least 4 separate partners and the lack of coordination especially with regards to a timely transfer of pledged funds to the project is a critical issue.  What’s even worth is that one of the partners hasn’t even submitted their plan of activities and budget for signature by the MoH and the implementor partners this late into the fiscal year.  Better communication, collaboration and follow-up actions should be emphasized and constantly reminded by the current USAID-based chair of the consortium of partners working on the NTD elimination programs in DRC.

b.      Timely custom-clearance of the various PCT drugs and ensuring coverage of costs for their timely transport to the field for successful integrated MDA  is another crucial issue.  The MoH should play a major leading role by working with drug manufacturers, WHO. the various NGDO partners and transportation agencies well in advance.

c.       Closer supervision and monitoring of treatment data into the some what complex integrated registers by the community drug distributors (CDDs)  should be strongly encouraged.Good training and retraining of CDDs is important but so is regular random checkingof the registers by the trainors to confirm proper and adequate training.

d.      Commitmenty, support and appropriation of the NTD elimination programs and goals by many village chiefs continue to be demonstrated and acknowledged by the presentation of the UFAR gold medal displaying UFAR’s logo to deserving chiefs.

November-December 2012 Trip Highlights

I found out while inquiring about the process for obtaining tax exemption for importing medical equipments and supplies into DRC that in addition to registering UFAR with the Ministry of Health in 2005, registration of UFAR with the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Planning and at the Commune of Ngaliema in Kinshasa where our office is located were also required in order to legally operate as a nonprofit organization in the country.

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Summer 2012 Trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) - Initial Report

The SN Belgian flight I took from JFK to Kinshasa via Brussels was smooth, timely and uneventful, leaving JFK on June 25 at 6 PM and arriving at Ndjili International Airport in Kinshasa on June 26 at 5:30 PM. How wonderful it was to have my older son Peter and his beautiful new bride of less than a year join me on this trip, even if for just 11 days because of commitments to his relatively new job up in Boston.

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March 2012 Trip Report - 35th Session of NGDO Coordination Group for Onchocerciasis Control

The 35th Session of the NGDO Coordination Group for Onchocerciasis Control was convened at the APOC Headquarters in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 8-9 March 2012, with 36 members, associate members, the World Bank, observers and APOC/WHO secretariat in attendance. In his opening remarks, Dr. Paul Lusamba, APOC Director, underscored the vital role that NGDOs have played over the years as major partners in the fight against onchocerciasis now moving from control to elimination, and reminded the participants to be vigilant on the appropriate use of increasing funding in this area. Brief summaries of agenda items of interest and relevance to UFAR are provided below.

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December 2011 Trip Report to DRC, Part 2

December 2011 Trip Report to DRC, Part 2

Time sure flies. I can hardly believe that it's been over a month since my last trip report. I've been safely back in the US a little over two weeks, now busy catching up on everything. Thanking you for your concerns and especially for your prayers for a successful trip and my safe return. This report is intended to bring you up to date from where I left off in my first report which covered the first of the four primary goals of the trip.

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December 2011 Trip Report to the DRC from Dr. Shungu, Part 1

Greetings from Kinshasa! Yes, I'm now in Kinshasa, flying in safely yesterday from Nairobi. With all the post-elections publicized tensions and even dozens of tragic incidence throughout the country, I was pleasantly surprised to find Kinshasa in almost a business as usual mode. However, as long as Tshisekedi, the leader of the opposition party who lost to Kabila, the incumbent president, has not yet conceded, the situation can rapidly take a turn for the worse.

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Fourth Report on Summer 2010 Trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Fourth Report on Summer 2010 Trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Our remaining few days in Lubumbashi before the confirmed August 2, 2010 return trip to the US were largely uneventful. We spent some time shopping for souvenirs, learning to bargain while buying beautiful local fabrics at the huge open air central market in downtown Lubumbashi full with everything imaginable, having custom-tailored women's outfits and men's shirts sewn in the local style, and dining out at a several local restaurants

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Third Report on Summer 2010 Trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Third Report on Summer 2010 Trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

The town of Kamina, located in the northwestern region of the Katanga province and with an estimated population of over 300,000 people, is the Episcopal headquarters of the North Katanga Conference of the United Methodist Church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) under bishop Nkulu Ntambo's leadership. Back in 2008, we hosted in our homes in New Jersey several delegates to the General Conference convened in the US from this Conference. We now sought to establish stronger bonds between both our congregations, the North Katanga and the Greater New Jersey Conferences of the United Methodist Church, through this return visit with our African brothers and sisters, all for the glory of our Gracious Lord and Savior.

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Reports on the Summer 2010 trip to Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

As will be seen below, the goals of this trip, the size of the travelling team, the frequent unpredicted challenges requiring prompt adjustments to our original plans and the relatively short duration of the mission made the preparation and posting of the kind of trip updates provided on my previous trips very difficult and unpractical. The patience and indulgence of our many faithful friends, supporters and followers for these updates is greatly appreciated.

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CDTI Lubutu & Kasongo - Update 2

CDTI Lubutu & Kasongo - Update 2

The first item of business upon my arrival in Kinshasa was to retrieve available background information on CDTI Lubutu at the headquarters of the National Onchocerciasis Control Program, and learn as much as I can on the project. I have also made a few trips to the renowned Central Market for Congolese Arts in Kinshasa to check and pick up interesting jewelries for our future fundraising events.

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