Malaria situation and response

Malaria is one of the largest causes of morbidity and mortality in the DRC - leading to dramatic losses of productivity and quality of life. Malaria accounts for an estimated 40% of outpatient visits by children under five and 40% of the overall mortality in children under five. Implementation of large-scale malaria control activities in the DRC faces serious challenges.

97% of the population lives in areas experiencing high and stable malaria transmission, and 3% of the population lives in more mountainous, epidemic prone areas in the east (Kivu and Katanga). DRC has three different epidemiological zones: the equatorial forest zone with high malaria morbidity in under-fives; the tropical zone where transmission increases during the long rainy season, which lasts between 5-8 months and where morbidity is highest in children under 10 years of age; and the mountainous area of the Kivus and Katanga provinces in the east which are prone to epidemics.

The country's health infrastructure is very weak and it is estimated that only about 25% of the population has access to health facilities. An additional complicating factor is that external donor support of health activities in DRC is fragmented geographically.

The 2007 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) showed very low coverage rates of major malaria prevention and control measures. Only 9% of households owned one or more insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), and only 6% of children under-five and 7% of pregnant women had slept under an insecticide-treated mosquito net the night before the survey. The 2010 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) found that 51% of households owned at least one bed net and that 38% of children less than five years of age and 43% of pregnant women had slept under a bed net the night before the survey. The proportion of children under five with fever who were treated with artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) within 24 hours of the onset of illness and the proportion of pregnant women receiving two doses of intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp) were less than 1% and 5%, respectively. Concerted implementation of these interventions only began in 2006.

National Malaria Strategic Plan

Malaria control interventions in DRC are coordinated by the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), which operates based on the National Malaria Strategic Plan (NMSP) 2007-2011. The stated goal of this is to reduce malaria-related mortality and morbidity by 50% by 2011. The National Malaria Strategic Plan was revised for 2011-2015 to align with the new five-year National Health Development Plan.

The specific objectives of the NMSP are to achieve:

  • Long-lasting insecticidal net (LLIN) coverage of at least 80% of the national population. The NMCP's revised National Malaria Control Strategy (2011-2015) supports a three-pronged distribution strategy: distribution of free nets through mass campaigns, routine distribution of free nets through antenatal care clinics (ANCs) and child health clinics, and commercial sales of full-cost nets.
  • LLIN coverage of at least 80% of children under one year and of pregnant women;
  • Intermittent preventive treatment coverage of at least 80% of pregnant women (IPTp). More than 85% of women in DRC attend an antenatal care clinic ANC at least once during their pregnancy. Although implementation of IPTp in the DRC began in 2006, scale up has been slow.
  • Case management in conformity with the national directives in at least 80% of cases. Scale up of artesunate-amodiaquine (AS-AQ) treatment in all health facilities in the 136 targeted health zones in five provinces.
  • Refined national monitoring and evaluation plan as part of the revised NMCP Strategic Plan to align with the National Health Development Plan 2011-2015. The national health information management system (SNIS) has developed national reporting standards and training guides, defined national quality assurance standards for data collection, and encouraged production of twice-yearly provincial bulletins. Though partners have increased support for the SNIS, the system remains weak and fragmented due to lack of timely and complete data, poor data quality, and limited capacity for analysing, reporting, and using information to strengthen the programme.
  • Health system strengthening and integration: to build in-country capacity and integrate malaria activities with other programmes. The health system in the DRC, as in other countries in the region, suffers from lack of qualified health workers and resources to provide quality health care, as well as weak coordination of donor and civil society support.

RBM partners' activities

Malaria endemic countries

Multilateral development partners


OECD donor countries

In the news

676,000 LLIN distribution agreed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

27 March 2014, 3:00 pm

The Against Malaria Foundation (AMF) has agreed to fund 676,000 LLINs for distribution in the province of Kasaï Occidental. The nets will be distributed from July to October 2014 to protect approximately 1.2 million people. The distribution is a partnership between AMF which will be funding all nets, the UK's Department of International Development (DFID) which will be funding all non-net costs through the ASSP (Access to Primary Health Care)…

Read more

United Methodist Charity Seeks to Provide 700,000 Malaria Nets to Congo

25 February 2014, 8:40 am

A United Methodist charity is looking to provide 700,000 malaria nets to a province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by mid-March.

Read more

DRC: Malaria cases soar in former rebel stronghold

22 December 2013, 12:00 am

There has been a threefold increase in the number of malaria cases recorded in the former M23 rebel stronghold of Rutshuru, in the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) North Kivu Province, compared to past years. Insecurity is exacerbating the spread of the disease, say health officials.

Read more

Putting malaria treatment in the hands of communities - World Health Organization (press release)

12 December 2013, 9:20 pm

The programme, run by WHO with a grant from the Government of Canada, covers 5 African countries: DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger and Nigeria. The idea is to build capacity and equip community volunteers to recognize, diagnose and treat malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia - the 3 top childhood killers.

Read more

Malaria cases soar in former DRC rebel stronghold

10 December 2013, 8:00 pm

There has been a threefold increase in the number of malaria cases recorded in the former M23 rebel stronghold of Rutshuru, in the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) North Kivu Province, compared to past years.

Read more

Democratic Republic of Congo: MSF treats 7600 malaria patients in Lulingu - Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) International

1 October 2013, 6:20 am

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) InternationalDemocratic Republic of Congo: MSF treats 7600 malaria patients in LulinguMedecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) InternationalEvery day many children were dying in Lulingu and Tchonka, in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), for unknown reasons. The area is extremely remote, roughly 300 kilometres from the provincial capital Bukavu and reachable by travelling between eight ...

Read more
  • Malaria situation and response
  • Funding shortfalls
  • RBM partners' activities
  • In the news