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

This reports 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.

1.      OBJECTIVES

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

 

3.      TRAVEL DETAILS

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.

 

5.      REMARKS & RECOMMENDATIONS

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.