Alarming situation regarding the inaccessibility of women and girls to the right to sexual and reproductive health in the territory of Mwenga in South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Véronique BULAYA
Posted October 17, 2019 from Democratic Republic of the Congo

In the mining areas of Kamituga and Lugushwa, located in the WAMUZIMU community / chiefdom in MWENGA territory, in South Kivu province, east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, there is a serious problem of sexual and reproductive health, particularly that relating to the multiplicity of cases of unsafe and unsafe abortions and their consequences, the precariousness of post-abortion care, the existence at Community level of attitudes and harmful behavior towards contraception and abortion. . These are the elements that justify the inaccessibility of the majority of girls and women who are vulnerable and marginalized to abortion-related care as a women's right. However, the two mining areas (Kamituga and Lugushwa) are overpopulated with more than 800,000 inhabitants as a result of mining activities. According to the results of a recent study conducted in March 2019 by the NGO PIFEVA in both rural and mining areas, the majority of women and girls with unsafe abortions were between 15 and 44 years of age and 47 % of pregnancies recorded in the 2014-2018 period ended with induced abortion. Frequency of abortions is higher in mining sites and centers in Bwali and Camp VI in Kamituga and in Mapale in Lugushwa where the majority of vulnerable and marginalized girls and women live only in unprotected prostitution . This situation favors the multiplicity of unwanted fat who constitute the major cause of a majority of cases of clandestine abortions, of which about three out of four abortions practiced in Kamituga and Lugushwa remain unsecured. This increases the risk of vulnerable girls and women dying as a result of an abortion. In addition, there is a prevalence of more than 4% of STIs / HIV AIDS in this part of South Kivu in eastern DR Congo.

In addition, the data available at the Kamituga General Hospital also show that more than 87% of voluntary abortions terminate with the death of girls and women who have contracted an unwanted pregnancy and who would previously be a traditional charlatane for lack of quality post-abortion care.

Socioculturally, religious beliefs and custom prevail over women's right to abortion and encourage under-estimation of abortion in both mining areas.

It should be noted that several villages within which artisanal gold mining takes place are scattered in these two areas which are difficult to reach and which are not covered by the few existing medical structures and which do not have the necessary means. to address the needs of girls and women in sexual and reproductive health, and in particular the need to manage cases of abortion.

Faced with this very difficult health context that vulnerable and marginalized women and girls from Kamituga and Lugushwa are facing in South Kivu, the NGO PIFEVA considers it important and urgent to set up a mobile health clinic offering health services. and reproductive and abortion services for this category of women and girls abandoned to their plight in eastern DR Congo.

Comments 8

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Hello, Veronique,

How are you doing? It is quite alarming indeed. Thank you for bringing up the issue of unprotected prostitution and unsafe abortion and the risk of HIV on this platform.

Are there any intervention on these issues?

Thank you for sharing.

Tamarack Verrall
Oct 17
Oct 17

Dear Veronique,
This is a critical call out to the global community that needs urgent response from every national and international agency claiming to be committed to freedom for women and girls, and to every gold mining company helping create this horrendous situation that women and girls are in, in these regions, to tend first and foremost to safe medical care, including the right to a safe abortion to save the lives of these women and girls who have been raped at random and/or through being trafficked, forced or fallen into prostitution as the only way to survive. That this can happen to women and girls in a mining area whose products are used globally, is a global disgrace. My country is complicit. As many mobile health clinics as are needed would be the first step, and it is the responsibility of the governments and the mining companies to end this torturous situation that so many women and girls in your area have been forced into. Thank you for sending out this story.

Anita Shrestha
Oct 17
Oct 17

Thank you sharing

Oct 17
Oct 17

Thanks for sharing your story on this issue. The world really need to be educated in that abortion is not an evil practice like many see it. But rather a solution to a problem and that every woman/girl has the right to her body and her reproductive health. The world is mistakenly establishing and implementing bad laws to decide what happens with the woman's body.
Thanks for your great work there in DRCongo

Stella Paul
Oct 17
Oct 17

Dear Veronique

It is indeed so, so sad that in a mining belt that produces minerals worth millions of dollars, women don't have access to basic healthcare. This is both heartbreaking and depressing. It is also equally sad that world over, few people (especially in the media) are talking about it. So thank you for sharing this with us all. A mobile unit would indeed be very helpful. In Tanzania, they have tried this and it has been very successful. Please do let us know if there are any updates on your plans in the future. I wish you more support and success! Love, Stella

Oct 17
Oct 17

My dear Vero,
How are you doing? It's so sad a report to hear :-(.

Do you know if the authorities are doing something about? Or any available activist groups taking the issue up? Best wishes

Oct 24
Oct 24

Thank you for sharing. I hope that the mobile health clinic is successful in supporting these girls and women who are forced into prostitution.

Hello Véronique, Thank you so much for sharing. This is a clear picture of what is happening in those regions . Please can you update us on what has been done to address this situation